A Little Kindness from a Stranger
Check engine light. Something most of us abhor. But they do a job, right? An important job. They inform us when something is awry within a vital material possession: our vehicle. In my youth, no such technology existed. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine where a check engine light would even have been situated in a 1967 Volkswagen Bug. But modern cars are able to let us know when something is wrong, even when we can’t detect what that something is ourselves.
As the snow began to overtake the rain, I jammed my 2009 Honda Pilot into park. Wind whipped into my face as I made the reluctant mini-trek into the repair shop, umbrella in hand. If tamping down anxiety were a skill I could monetize, I’d be on the cover of Fortune Magazine. But that’s unfortunately the chief effect a future car repair produces in me.
“Can I help you?” came the voice from the buoyant, greasy kid behind the counter. Approaching him, I provided my information and he located me in the appointment system. “Okay, we’ll give you a call once we figure out what’s going on with your vehicle,” he assured me. I thanked him and headed toward the exit. “Wait a minute, you walking?” he asked. I responded affirmatively, briefly explaining that I did not live far. Maybe 15 minutes. “You wanna ride?” he offered. I paused. Glancing through the shop windows, I could see today’s Nor’Easter generously sharing plenty of wind and precipitation. This would be no easy walk, but I had come prepared with my… well, my umbrella.
“I could drive him home.”
To my right, I turned to see from whence this voice originated. Sitting calmly in a waiting room chair sat a woman. Adorned in a sand-colored camel hair coat, tightly coiffed blonde hair, the woman was perhaps sixty years old or so.
I had never seen her in my life.
Our eyes met. “Well, unless you’re an axe murderer?” she quipped, cracking a polite smile. Chuckling and returning the smile, I explained that no, I was actually a teacher. Not much of a risk. “Come on,” she motioned as she stood up, “I’ll drive you.”
Apparently I had not tripped the woman’s check engine light. Nothing awry here. And grateful I was for this unexpected kindness from a stranger.