I used to dislike the term "random acts of kindness." I thought it was trite and overused. Besides [she said cynically!] who really does you a favor without expecting anything in return? Then a while back on Facebook I shared a post about being kind to strangers (and animals) as they may be angels in disguise. Shall I tell you a story about an angel I met when I wasn't, by any means, expecting it? Shall I tell you two? And were they angels, or were they simply doing a random act of kindness? I believe they certainly were, in fact, angels. But I'll let you decide.
Several years ago a friend
called me from a town about 30 miles from here (there were phone booths
then) and said his car had broken down on the highway. He'd managed to
limp it into a closed garage, but was stuck, and asked
if I could come and get him. Of course, I said. He tried to tell me
where he was, but the town was totally unfamiliar to me (it isn't now!) I
got off an exit I recognized was wrong, and, frustrated, went into a convenience
store hoping to get some help.
There was a line at the cash
register and one customer was a young African-American kid who -- I am
going to be very politically incorrect here, please forgive me -- you
might get quite nervous meeting in an alleyway or "bad" section of town.
Then suddenly he turned to me - specifically to ME, just standing in the
line - and said "You're lost, aren't you? Where do you want to go? I'll
help you out." It did occur to me to wonder how he could possibly know
that...but I was lost, and more than ready to take him up on his offer. I tried
explaining where the garage and my friend were. "Gotcha," he said,
"Follow me. I'm going right onto the highway - when you see my signal
you go straight about a mile and it's on your right. Don't follow me onto the highway, just keep straight. When I signal you."
I had my
misgivings and I didn't feel totally comfortable. But the kid finished
his purchase (whatever it was) and went out and jumped into a low-slung
car, and I got in mine. He led me through curving city streets (kinda
fast) and I did my best to keep up with him. It wasn't long until we hit
"civilization" though, and sure enough we were on a main drag with
freeways branching off. A little way down the road his car slowed, and he put his right signal on and stuck his left arm out the
window, pointing for me to go straight. I felt great calmness finally, and
sure enough, about a mile down the road, there was my friend standing in
the parking lot of the of the garage waiting for me. "Thought you'd never make it!" he said jokingly. I smiled and said "Someone showed me the way."