Last night was a bad time to leave my hooded raincoat hanging on the back of my office door for it was pouring this morning when I left the house. I didn’t even have an umbrella, because those are all in Gretel’s book bag, or locker or bedroom at the Bay. By the time I got to the ATM on 17th street I was soaking wet and presented a sad and bedraggled sight at the side of the curb, trying to hail a cab. I looked so forlorn that a Volvo driver stopped and offered me a ride. She was going about 3 blocks from my office. She works with George Mitchell at the U.S. Institute of Peace so we had a nice chat about Northern Ireland before I had to step back into the deluge.
Within moments, a careless Jaguar driver had soaked me still further, driving at speed through a storm drain and splashing me and everyone else on the sidewalk with cold, dirty water.
I am Irish and so I am used to being damp and miserable. My attitude to rain is usually bracing “Bad weather won’t kill you” I say to Gretel, handing her an anorak ” You’ll dry out in the end” But today the rain was biblical and I was trudging along, head down and jaw clenched, when a young black woman with a Burberry umbrella came up alongside me and said “Want to share?”
The woman had an expensive looking perm and I know from Gretel that this is not a do that does well when wet, so it was particularly nice of her to walk with me the final block to my place of work.
2 kind deeds from 2 women I have never seen before and will never see again, in the space of 10 minutes.
I now have a collective noun for Strangers: A Kindness