Monday, March 31, 2008

Random Act of Kindness

My mood was as foul as the weather. Angry thoughts swirled in my pounding head as I tried to figure out where I was. Being a creature of the Pond, I do not like downtown of the Big Pond. After searching for over an hour as I wondered the streets in a haze of confusion and misty weather, I finally found the place I needed to be. I was to visit the new store of an artist in a large hotel. Pulling into the hotel entrance, a gentleman opened my door.

"Hello," I said, plastering a smile on my face. I tried to ignore my throbbing head and growling stomach. "I'm here as a journalist to interview the Artist at her new store. She told me I could park for free. Where should I go?"

The smile dropped from the gentleman's face. He droned, "Parking is $7 at the garage, $14 for valet."

I batted my eyes and stretched my cheeks. "But I'm here to do a story! And I don't have any cash."

The man turned away to welcome the next car. "There's an ATM in the lobby," he called over his shoulder.

"But I've only had the debit card for a very short time and don't know my pin..." My voice trailed off weakly. The man was shooing me out of the hotel entrance as he gestured for another car to drive up.

Growling, I circled the block and crept up into the giant parking garage. I hurried down the parking garage stairs, into the hotel and down the shops. When I inquired for the Artist, I was informed she was not coming in that day. When I explained I had an appointment with the artist for a magazine story, the girl's face brightened.

"You're a writer? Oh, I want to be a writer! I write these short films at the local college and let me tell you about my latest piece--" She launched into a great story as my stomach roared at me. The rain began to pour harder outside and my head began to feel as though it was being squeezed in a vice. I gave the girl my card and ducked into a local shop. I tried to use my debit card to get cash back, but realized it needed a pin number. Sighing, I ducked outside and called Ben.

"You have to have cash?" Ben's voice had an edge of panic. I could just picture visions of me getting mugged or captured by the Parking Garage Police dancing in his head. "You can't buy something and return for cash? You can't write them a nice story or give them a flower? What about a pie? Could you buy them a pie? You like pie. Don't they like pie?"

"It'll be all right," I said, forcing my voice to be cheerful. "Don't worry." The rain began to pour, streaming down my back as I rushed across the street to the parking garage. I ran up to the attendant's window and groaned. The same valet who had first greeted me was now sitting in the garage window.

"Hello, we spoke before," I said, desperately wishing I could pound my head into the little box he sat in. "Listen, I've only got $1 to my name and my ATM card is not working. I didn't realize I had to pay for parking because I was told it would be free. Could I sign a credit card voucher? Will that work?"

The man nodded and rolled his eyes, smiling as if I was a ridiculous child trying to buy candy with shoelaces. Sighing with relief, I rushed up to my car and inched my way back down to the parking garage. By now my stomach was howling in agony, my head felt as though knives were being driven through it and I still had to stop at a restaurant closer to the bar for a second story. The rain was sprinkling on my windshield, making it impossible to see. My windows fogged up from the humidity.

I rolled down my window and hung my credit card out the window. I gave the man my parking ticket and waited.

"It'll be $4," he said. I nodded and held out my credit card. He looked at the card, narrowed his eyes and looked at me. "You said you had a $1?"

"Yes," I said, opening my wallet and handing him my dollar. I wiggled my credit card at him with the other hand. He opened up his wallet, took out $3 and put it into the cash register.

"Don't worry about it," he said, waving away my wiggling hand. "I took care of it."

My mouth dropped open. "Are you sure?" I asked, positive I hadn't heard him correctly. It felt like a troupe of fairies were clogging on my skull. "That's very kind of you, but I don't mind paying."

"It's my good deed for the day," the man said, gently waving my hand back into the car. "Have a good day, now." Thanking him several times, I drove away and promptly returned to winding downtown in a state of permanent lostness. As I wondered past buildings and one-way streets, I thought about the man. I had been convinced he was the rudest man in the world, yet he helped me for no reason. Just a random act of kindness.

Driving back up to the Pond, my headache eased, the rain cleared and my stomach stopped screaming at me. The sun began to shine as I drove home, and I noticed the grass along the road was a brilliant green dotted with cheerful wildflowers.


Feeling a tad bit better, I pulled into the garage and opened the door. Two white bellies were wiggling at the kitchen gate as two tails whipped back and forth. I broke into a brilliant smile and sat down as two little furry creatures hopped all over me. As I scratched their little ears and let their little tongues wash over my arms and hands, I beamed.

For a random act of kindness helped me get to a warm, sunny kitchen with bouncing puppies.



*Don't worry friends! Brand-new Land of the Flowered Bed Wednesday! I know Marie is dying for one!

4 comments:

Mom said...

I'm so glad to you were able to find a kind gentleman. Now as your mother I would be remiss in reminding you to always carry enough cash in case you break down and need a cab. Good story.

Sarah Beth said...

"smiling as if I was a ridiculous child trying to buy candy with shoelaces"

love it!

it's awesome when stuff like that happens. it's so humbling.

also reminds me how on oprah's the big give, this guy left $69 at a toll booth to cover the next 138 people for a free ride. sometimes it's the little things. he told the toll man to tell them to to a good deed for someone else that day.

Marie said...

Ohh goodie, something for me to look forward to! I love the land of the flowered bed, and Ducky my friend, Random acts of kindness are the very best kind!!! They're the ones that have the most meaning. I'm so glad you were blessed in this way! I am always telling my Todd do NOT ever go anywhere without a working bank card and some cash in your pockets! I'm pleased the story had a happy ending! XXOO

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