Monday, January 12, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

I'm back on the road again. It was really lovely being at home for most of December, but needs must when the Devil drives. Can anyone explain that to me? It has to be one of the most convoluted saying we have. I digress. I'm in the frozen North -- well to be honest it's Ohio which probably doesn't quite qualify for the the "frozen" appellation, but it's a lot further North than Charlotte, NC and a darn sight colder too. Anyway to get back to the point again... I picked up my rental car in Dayton (travel tip -- it's a lot cheaper to fly to Dayton than to Columbus) and drove to Columbus yesterday, and overnight it snowed. Not a huge amount, just an inch or so, enough to cover the car with a good layer.
At 7:30 a.m. I stepped out of the hotel.
I said Good Morning to a man and a woman who were standing out in the cold smoking. Addicts must get their fix apparently. My car was right next to theirs, and they'd already cleaned theirs off. I unlocked my door, started the engine and began looking for the scraper that should have been on the back seat and what do you know? It wasn't there. Cursing beneath my breath, I clambered out of the car and began to wipe the snow from the windows with my gloved hand.
"You haven't got a scraper then?" The man said to me.
Brilliant piece of observation I thought. "No. the rental car company must have forgotten to put it in." I quipped back, sharp as the Easterly breeze that was blowing new flakes in my face.
"Min," the man said, "Get the scraper out and clean up the car for her."
And Min -- I have to assume that the woman's name was Min -- immediately opened the trunk of their car, pulled out a scraper and did just that. While I chatted with the man she cleaned every window, and did a far better job of it than I would have.
"Min," the man said,"Don't forget the hood." He then proceeded to tell me that in Connecticut it's an offense to drive a car with snow on the hood.
I thanked them both, especially Min, and as I drove off I thought This is going to be a good day.
And it was.


Anonymous said...

I'm all for equality, and I regularly clean my own car off. If Min had offered or just done it on her own, I wouldn't have an issue with your story.

But . . . He told her to do it and she did, while he stood there? Now, don't get me wrong. I'm very glad someone was there to help you, but I wanted to smack the guy. And he reminded her to get the hood!! Why didn't the doofus get the hood himself?

Anyway, I'm glad you had a good day. Welcome to the North. =>

Liz said...

I completely understand what you're saying, Theadra. I was a bit taken aback myself. I have to suppose that Min is either working on a promotion or is his long-suffering assistant and is used to these kinds of "requests". She didn't seem in the least put out by the order, and it WAS an order.

Yesterday it snowed all day. The car was a snowball when I got back to it in the evening. It took me ten minutes to clean it off. I kinda wished Min was working alongside of me :-). Made me appreciate all over again what she had done.