Today I woke up to a blizzard. I had planned on staying home so it was no big deal. At about noon, I looked out my front door and saw that someone had anonymously snow blown (blowed?) my drive way: Thank you.
At about 5 pm it became apparent that my mentally handicapped uncle was stuck at the local mall due to the weather and having a panic attack. I am the only relative within driving distance so I dashed outside to find that my driveway was covered again. I grabbed my shovel and started going to town. I glanced across the road and saw another neighbor snow blowing his driveway across the street (we’ve never met before), and I asked him if he would let me borrow it for a moment. He said sure, and he cleared 2 ruts for me to pull out of. I made it down the driveway only to get stuck in the road. That same neighbor returned to help push, but we eventually had to admit that even if we did get my car unstuck here, it wouldn’t make it very far. Even though we didn’t succeed: thank you neighbor.
It’s getting late, and the roads aren’t getting any better. Buses aren’t running, taxis aren’t running, my uncle is stuck. And he’s scared. I talk to him for a bit, my father talks to him for hours. We hear that a woman from the mall has decided to take my uncle and his friend through a tour of the administrative offices to help calm him down, and make things fun. She’s even found him a couch to sleep on. To you, kind woman I’ve never met and had never met my uncle until today: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To all of you wonderful people out there who do these little acts of kindness, to neighbors and total strangers. You are what makes a group of strangers into a community, and for that I thank you.
Often the web can be filled with anger and indifference but there are many times when it provides an opportunity to recognize the humanity in so many of us. And it so often is seen during extreme events. People forget their differences and work together much more.
My family and I were on the island of Kauai when Iniki hit. The ability of people to come together to help was also evident then. I guess that is how we survived as a species – our normal inclination is to help others in the group.