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Monday, October 03, 2005

Random Acts of Kindness

Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Sundays have typically been the same over the past month or so. Run errands, pick up a little. I keep my car downtown with me on the weekends and then return it to Tenleytown around 2 ish, so that I can be guaranteed to find a parking spot.

On this particular Sunday, I spotted two young men who had just been walking seated on the curb. I parked and started walking back up the street, when one of the young men stopped me and asked if I was going to be driving up towards Georgetown.
"Ok, I was just wondering. We're waiting for a cab, because I've twisted my ankle." For the record, even when he said this, thoughts of 'well he could be a serial killer and/or rapist' never entered my mind. My only thought was damn, if I move my car now, will I be able to find a parking spot later. And shit, I might miss my bus.
I guess I was feeling particularly nice and knew that in that particular area, it would take them a year to find a cab. I retrieved my car and picked them up.

We got to chatting on the way up. These two young men, Morgan-the one who had twisted his ankle- and Johnny-his brother; were both from New Orleans. Upon learning this I had to physically restrain myself for staring and saying things like "Holy shit do you still have a house" and "Where are your parents??". That would be rude. I just stared straight ahead and noticed how calm and collected and genuinely thankful they both were. Johnny attended Georgetown and Morgan had been attending law school at Tulane. Morgan moved up to DC to live with Johnny and to take the semester off. He said that, Tulane was operating under the impression that they would reopen by next semester. I just nodded and smiled.

Finally I dropped them off, both eternally grateful that I was so kind to pick them up and bring them down to Georgetown. The entire way home, all I could think of was how "normal" they were. Terrible, I know. But how do you 'survive' such devastation and act like everything is fine and normal? Of course I didn't know their entire story and although my curiosity was piqued, I couldn't just jump out and ask them something like that. My assumption is that they were probably just grateful for everything that had come their way in the past month. Grateful that they had somewhere to stay and that a stranger was willing to perform-even the smallest-random act of kindness.


Blogger Sub Girl said...

that was really nice of you, but that was good that they didn't have bad intentions. hard to judge those situations. and it's crazy how life goes back to normal despite disaster.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Libby said...

Heather...that was great to read! makes me feel that people haven't ALL lost the ability to be nice!
BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

10:50 PM  
Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

Please, please tell us there is a certain visual that we're missing that made you know this would turn out ok.

Because even as nice as I am, I really don't think I would've helped.

3:10 PM  
Blogger x said...

I don't know you, so no comment on the "should or should not have" but I really like the quote at the beginning of the post. I hadn't seen that one before and it fits really well with a conversation I've been having with a close friend recently. Cool.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Really I'm not sure why I did it as I'm not the nicest person in the world. At first I thought they were just AU students, but they didn't look scary or anything. It was just that gut instinct to tell me, that they weren't going to brutally maim me.
And I like that quote as well, it's a nice reminder to just be kind once in awhile.

8:18 AM  

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