Posted in Poetry

The Kindness of Strangers

In this day of body-shaming, racially insensitive remarks and the violence we seem to be subjected to everyday, it’s nice to know that there are still kind-hearted people in this world.  I know that the incident that I want to share with you is a Very Small Thing, but at the time, it felt Huge.  It reminded me that even the little things can mean a lot to another person. 

This last Saturday, I was on my way home from getting my 2nd COVID vaccine.  I think that this fact put me in an especially good mood.  Hope on the horizon!  I pulled into the lot of a local Winco Foods warehouse grocery store and parked my car.  I donned my mask, grabbed my purse and headed inside.

The only thing I went inside for was some milk and bread.  I’ve done very little in-person grocery shopping since the start of the pandemic.  

With milk jug in hand, walking toward the car, I reached down and patted the right front pocket of my jeans, where I normally put my keys if I have a pocket.  I could tell instantly that here was nothing in that pocket.  I also knew instantly that I had locked my keys in my car for the first time in decades.

I went through the motions of searching every pocket.  No good.  Then I dug through everything in my purse, every pocket, looking for them.  I knew it was no use, I know where I put my keys and where I don’t.  Well usually, that is. 

As the gallon of milk sitting on the trunk of my car was forming beads of sweat, I continued to search to no avail.  Looking through the windows, I saw my little ring of keys on the driver’s seat.  I must have set them down as I put on my face mask.

While I was panicking, a Very Pregnant woman and her 2 children were loading groceries into their car next to me.  She saw my obvious distress and asked if I was locked out.  I told her yes, that I had locked my keys in the car. 

This is March, in Texas.  We have crazy weather here this time of year.  Hot one day, cold the next.  On this day, it was a very beautiful 73 degrees.  I had left my front windows cracked about 2” each.  I told the woman that if I had a coat hanger, I could put it through the crack in the window and fish out my keys! 

This sweet woman did find a tie down strap with hooks on each end.  I tried using it to hook my keys and pull them out, but it didn’t work for me.  This woman tore through her car looking for something else, anything else, that might help me.  She didn’t find anything else, but she did try.  One of her teen aged children asked if she could try ‘fishing’ for my keys.  I said Yes!

I asked 2 other people in the parking lot for a wire coat hanger, no one had one.  I finally decided that I would go back inside the store to see if they could help me and if not, I would call a locksmith. 

The store was no help.  It’s against their company policy to help anyone break into a vehicle.  I can see their point.  It didn’t help, but I understood. 

While I was on the phone with a surly locksmith, the woman’s young son came into the store seeking me out.  He said that they had the car open!

It turned out that the woman’s neighbor who just happened to come by was able to fish my keys out!

I went back out to the car and this sweet woman had put my milk on my back seat for me, out of the sun. 

I thanked her profusely and told her that I wished I could give her a hug!  (damned pandemic!)

I did not get her name and I will probably never see her again, but this woman went out of her way, spending her time and effort to help me.  A stranger.  I am so grateful that this woman was there.  I mean, it all would have worked out.  It wasn’t the end of the world.  If she had not helped, I would have called a locksmith and solved the problem that way.  But what a joy to see that there are still humans out there that still care about other humans. 

I have since found out that my car insurance covers roadside assistance.  I also think I will toss a wire coat hanger in the trunk, just in case. 😉

Copyright © 2021 Penny Wilson

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 


Penny Wilson is a freelance writer who writes in several genres. She has written articles for WOW Women on Writing. Her poetry has been published in online journals, such as Ariel Chart, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society. Her poetry has been featured in the publication America's Emerging Poets 2018 & 2019 by Z Publishing and Poets Quarterly and Dual Coast Magazine published by Prolific Press. Penny is an advocate for Mental Health Awareness and has the page "Mental Health Help" on her blog. She writes about the struggles of mental illnesses and Depression. She is passionate about spreading awareness for Suicide Prevention and Domestic Abuse. She expresses her passion through her writings of poetry and life experiences. You can find more of her writings on her blog at and follow her on Twitter @pennywilson123.

8 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. There are good people in the world 🙂 Glad you bumped into one who took the time to help you. Maybe just a slight inconvenience, but also a huge deal.


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