The Kindness Of…

Yesterday was bad.

I had an ultrasound appointment up in Connecticut, and planned to be back home by 3, before the storm was supposed to get really severe. I made it most of the way back with no traffic or snow at all, but around Stamford (about half an hour from our house) the cars on the highway came to a virtual stop, and the blizzard picked up in what felt like seconds.

Two and a half hours later I had gone three exits, my phone was dead (and I had brought the wrong charger), and – worst of all – my son’s school had ended an hour earlier. I had called the school before my phone died and told them I was stuck and would be very late, but sitting still on a highway, watching the snow piling up and cars sliding everywhere – at one point, a FedEx truck slid sideways across the highway right in front of me; I had to do a sort of controlled slide around it – and being completely unable to get to my son or communicate with the people who were watching him (people who I knew had their own drives home and their own families to worry about)…it was one of the most helpless feelings I’ve ever experienced.

Eventually I reached an exit and pulled off. The weather was bad on the highways – we’re talking foot-high drifts on the road itself – but right off of the exits it was almost impassable. I turned into a gas station, but there was a car blocking the path to the parking spaces, and when I tried to go around him I got stuck.

And because I felt so far away from my son, so powerless to get to him or tell him I was coming, I cried.

I wanted to write this not because it’s an especially unique story – I’m sure the weather scared plenty of people yesterday, kept plenty of people away from their homes and their children for hours beyond when they expected – but because I wanted to say thank you to the man who was just passing by my car, saw me crying, and stopped to ask me if I needed anything…and then immediately – without even a moment of hesitation – got off of what was obviously an important call (I saw the name of a European city blinking on the screen when he handed it over) and waited next to me in the snow while I contacted my son’s school and my husband. And then handed me his phone charger, and told me to take it, that he had children too and he wanted me to get home safely. He cleared the snow off of my windows, let me hug him twice, and said “God bless.”

Thank you.

Thank you also to my friend Diana, who drove through a blizzard to get my son and then brought him home, fed him pasta, and had him playing with dinosaurs and laughing when I showed up, covered in snow, hours later.

Such a bad day turned so much better by friends and by total strangers. I feel very lucky, and very grateful.

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