Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Receiving kindness from strangers

What a day. I started out this morning on what would have been a long drive from Tarentum, PA to Cooperstown, NY, expecting to spend a few days with my parents and to see some of my siblings and nephews and nieces. During the first hour or so of travel I found myself thinking about the mysterious ways in which God had blessed me over the years, and particularly about the good things happening in my life now.

My plans changed when my car broke down not far outside of Brookville, PA. I was at the bottom of a hill, in a location where my cell phone would not work, so I had to hike up the hill in hopes of finding either a pay phone or a location where I could use my cell phone to get help. When I was able to use the cell phone I had a bad connection and talked to probably 7 different "counselors" at AAA, each time having to reintroduce myself, read off my membership number, correct my address, explain my situation, and describe my location. I was assured that someone had been dispatched.

While I was waiting at my car, a very helpful state trooper from the Punxsatawney Station stopped and helped me get my car into a more safe location.

When the tow truck had not showed up in over an hour I hiked back up the hill from my car and went through another round of attempted calls to AAA, at the end of which I was assured that the tow truck was on its way in 10-15 minutes. I was instructed to return to my car and wait for the tow truck. On my way back down to the car, my cell phone's battery discharged to the point that I could not make any more phone calls. I waited at my car and still never saw the tow truck.

So I left a note for the tower and set off up the hill again, this time with my cell phone charger. I got a ride to the Sheetz in Brookville, where I used a pay phone to call AAA again and re-explain my situation and tell where I could be found. AAA agreed to send the tow truck to pick me up there.

While I was in the Sheetz, I found an outlet that I used to start recharging my phone. A cashier saw me standing by the window and asked me if things were alright. I explained my need to recharge the cell phone and that I was waiting for a tow. She invited me to have a coffee while I waited. When I came back to pay for the coffee she let me have it for free, which was a very kind gesture in the middle of a difficult day.

Eventually the tow truck arrived, and the driver was very efficient in getting my car out of the spot it was in and back to a local garage near my home.

Each of the strangers who extended courtesies to me helped to make this difficult day more bearable.

File under :

No comments: