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 

Posted in depression, Life

What a Little Kindness Can Do

The Suicide rates are the highest they’ve been since WWII. This is a statistic that should be alarming to every one of us. It was to me when I heard it. I’ve advocated for Suicide Prevention and Awareness for a long time. In 2018, 1.5 million people attempted suicide.

Sunday mornings, I make it a habit to watch CBS Sunday Morning. There was a piece on there this Sunday, 1/19/2020, that really hit me. In the 1960s there was a study done on patients that had attempted suicide. The study discovered that a simple intervention, showing that you CARE, can prevent suicide. The suicide rates of people being released from psychiatric care in this study dropped by 50%, because of a simple act of compassion.

If you would like to see this segment, you can find it HEREThe piece is about 8 minutes long and can explain this remarkable study much better than I can.

I’ve written several posts about getting help if you need it for depression, suicide prevention, mental illness, etc., but I had not thought about the other side of the coin. What if we Reach Out and SHOW someone that we care today? Can it really make a difference?

It turns out that yes, it can.

I had an experience on Saturday, that really hit me as an unusual act by a stranger. I was at the gas pump filling my tank. It’s cold, the wind is blowing, but the sun is shining for the first time in days. I think everyone wanted to get out and soak up some of that sunshine. While I was pumping my gas, a woman pulled her car along side mine at the next pump over. She got out of her car and with a big smile on her face gave me a very cheerful “Good morning!” I instantly smiled! We exchanged a few words about the sunshine and the cold. But that whole experience left me smiling for the remainder of the day.

Why? Because a stranger took a few seconds and showed some compassion and kindness. Then on Sunday, I saw the piece about the suicide rates. These two instances, I believe, was God’s way of saying to me, “Penny, you need to take action. Pay attention to this!”

Why on earth was that woman that greeted me at the gas pump’s kindness so unusual to me?? THAT’S the real question here.

We get so tied up in our own lives, our own head, that we can’t see the world around us anymore. A few words or a smile might make all the difference in someone’s life. HERE is that link again.  Please watch it. I think it will change your prospective on how you look at those around you.

Sometime back, I pledged to do One Kind Thing every day. For the most part, I’ve stuck with that. But I challenge myself and you, to do more. I challenge us to Reach Out to someone today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Let’s give that other person a reason to smile.

Copyright (C) 2019 Penny Wilson

Thank you for joining me on this journey. ❤ Penny

Image by John Hain from Pixabay