Here's a memorable follow-up to my previous post about Saturday's Concert. What could have been a ruinous finish to our weekend of music and good fellowship became just a minor mishap, with a restorative act of kindness.
To eliminate several trips between Mt. Prospect and the City, Mark and I took a room in Evanston for two nights. It was a cultural mini-vacation.
Sunday morning, after the concert, it was cold and rainy. We were dragging to pack and leave for home, a 45-minute drive. The previous night's after-party celebration got us to bed well past midnight.
As Mark finished packing, I grabbed some bags to begin loading the car, which was parked in a garage near the hotel. I intended to be back in five minutes to take the remaining bags.
Another man and his wife, loaded down with luggage, were leaving the hotel at the same time. With a free hand I held the door for them. As I approached the parking structure's short-cut side entrance, I heard the couple lugging their bags behind me. Realizing that they had found the short cut, they followed me me inside and thanked me for saving them the extra distance to the main door. I held the doors again, and we exited the elevator together on the same floor.
After I unloaded my bags in the car, the man, who I learned later was named Carlos, told me he was about to ruin my day. He pointed to the car, noticing what I didn't: my left rear tire had gone flat, after having gone over a nail, which was still embedded in the tire.
"I'll help you fix it," he said.
So he delayed his family's journey back to New York to remove the bad tire and install my spare.
We shook hands, and he refused at first to allow me even to buy breakfast for him and his wife; he eventually, graciously, agreed.
I write frequently about wonderful people who show kindness to animals, but I rarely experience the caring help of a random individual myself.
I held the doors. He changed my tire. He saved our weekend.
Thank you Carlos--and all of you who have no reason to help a stranger, but do.
(Tomorrow: Alan Arkin as a Russian Sailor. Friday: The film "Maurice" looks at a world of past oppression we must not forget.)