“The Kindness of Strangers”
Vivien Leigh said it best as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers."
Ever have one of those days where things just seem to be a little off? Printer is out of ink, you're late for class, low on gas, tired, and have a bunch to do? Not to forget to mention you've forgotten your phone at home. You get through the tuff of it, so you think... and make your way back home. It's only 7pm, but because autumn is setting in the sun has already set. You think to yourself, "I know that little gas tank light is on, but surely I can make it just a few more miles... or at least to the next gas station." So you keep driving, hoping for the best.
One of the saddest sounds in the world is the sound of your car powering down at a stop light in the middle of a busy street. The second saddest sound is the one your car makes as you turn the key to try to start it again. It's like an angry dry heave saying, “I… told you I needed gas, cough, cough.” Another fifteen minutes and I would've been home, and only within the next four of those minutes and I would've been at the next gas station.
Sometimes when your car says it needs gas, it means it… so I suggest not doing what I did. Just a bit of advice.
So there I was, night had fallen, shut down in the middle of the street, cellphoneless, and so close yet still so far from home (by the way, a 15 minute drive in Los Angeles means about an hour walk or more depending where you are). Anyway, when traffic cleared I was able to put my car in neutral and push it to the side of the street - two lanes over, and slightly up hill… only stopping to wait for another wave of traffic to pass that was driving up the road.
There’s an old saying that says angels walk among us… not only do I believe this to be true, I believe that they reveal themselves in the kind gestures shown to us by others. They appear out of nowhere and eager to lend a helping hand. The first pair arrived in a shiny Range Rover in the form of a gorgeous young couple. They offered me help, which I gladly accepted and pushed my car onto a side street and out of the way, then offered me the use of their cellphone. I called the numbers I could remember (which thanks to cellphone technology is sadly a very short list), then since I was now out of harms way and had left a message so at least my boyfriend would know what happened to me, I thanked them and said I had it from there.
After they had driven off I realized I should’ve asked to be pushed a bit further down the street, to a place I could actually leave my car while I walk up to the gas station. Just as the thought came to me a pair of headlights appeared in my rearview mirror. I thought to myself “Oh, dear… am I blocking this person’s driveway?” and rolled down my window as a figure approached my car. I was pleasantly surprised by a lovely lady, who was a part of a lovely family of three on their way to dinner. She explained to me how they saw me while I was pushing my car out of the middle of the street and how they had to turn back to help. The thought of her kind, selfless words and their actions touch my heart deeply.
Her husband helped to push my car a bit further up the street to a place I could park, then they drove me up the road to the nearest gas station to get a gallon of gas, and back to my car. Even waited for me to fill and start my car to make sure I got off okay before heading off to their dinner.
With people like the ones who took the time out of their lives to help me with mine; people who ask for nothing in exchange for their help and who are ready to lend an unsolicited hand to a stranger in need… tells me that not only do we live in a world that is a lot more kind and loving then some would have us believe, but it is inhabited by angels that are very much real, who live among us and inside of those willing to share a bit of themselves for the good of another.