The Kindness of Strangers

I am a big fan of the Kindness Blog; it showcases many acts of kindness, and often brings me to tears. It got me thinking about the many kindnesses I have received in my life—how they came seemingly out of nowhere. They were so appreciated, and when I am having a bad day, the memory of those kindnesses warms my heart.

When I was in my 30s, I was visiting my mom and dad. In the morning I found that my car wouldn’t start, and I had to get to work. Mom had just gotten a brand new orange VW bug (the first new car she ever had), and both she and Dad pressed me to borrow it. At first I said that I couldn’t do that, that I would have my car towed to the local station and wait for it.

However, I had just started my job, and worried about having to take time off right away. My parents assured me that it was no problem for me to borrow the car, and that they would see to my car. I thanked them and took the VW, but I was worried that something would happen while I had Mom’s new car.

Well, something DID happen. It was a cold morning, and there was ice on the roads. As I took my exit off the highway, the car slid all the way over to the right side of the exit. I wasn’t going fast, but the ice caused the car to boomerang from one side to the other, finally flipping it over completely.

I ended up right-side up, facing traffic, but out of the way. I was terrified; I knew  I shouldn’t have borrowed the car, and now the roof was smashed in and one window was broken. Back then there were no cell phones, and all I could think of to do was to stand beside the car, hoping that someone would stop.

Someone did—an older man with gray hair and blue eyes. He stopped beside the car, rolled down his window and took my hand. He asked me if I was all right; except for a few bumps and bruises, I was. Then I started crying and said, ‘but this is my mom’s new car!’

The man looked up at me and smiled. He said, ‘your mom will understand. The car can be fixed, but there is only one of YOU.” He told me that he would go straight to the nearest police station and send someone out to help me. I can still see this man’s kind face to this day. How lucky I was that he saw me and stopped.

There have been many acts of sheer kindness in my life, for which I am grateful. I try each day to extend kindness wherever I can, both to honor the givers in my life; remember them and to give back whenever possible. When I do, I vividly remember the man’s blue eyes and the kindness in them. Because of that man, I have tried to be an ‘instrument of peace,’ and to give back when I can.

How many acts of kindness have you experienced? Do you remember them all? I hope that there have been many. 🙂

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