Tuesday, February 2, 2010

on cookies and humanity

Student watching as the truck slowly pulled her car out of the woods.

Right now we're getting some slick weather, possibly 4-6 inches by morning. And so this reminded me of something that happened just before the holidays.

I was driving to work on a sleety morning when I saw a woman standing next to a car in a very incongruous place. My brain didn't understand -- a woman in the woods next to a car?

I immediately pulled over to see what happened.

The young lady was a university student driving to class when she slid on an icy patch and spun into the brush. She was shaken but ok. You know what it's like when you have your first accident and you're trying to remember who to call and what to do? She was like that, scared and confused and very grateful not to be alone.

Luckily nothing was wrong with the car (save for a dented trunk) but her tires were absolutely mired in mud. I tried putting floormats under them to gain some traction and pushing as she shifted into drive -- if we could just move it a couple of inches! -- but I wasn't strong enough and the car was too stuck.

We stood there contemplating how many hundreds of dollars a towtruck would charge when suddenly two other folks pulled over. They tried pushing too but no luck. Then a third guy pulled over and shouted, "I have a truck at home, and a rope!" He left and returned with a Ford F-150 and a chain, hooked the car up and hauled it out of the mud effortlessly.

I was so touched by the sight of all these strangers who stopped to help, people rushing to work in sad, gray weather that no doubt already slowed down their morning commute; two in business attire (now covered, like me, in mud); and the third guy, still learning English. He could have chosen to not use his resources in a country that isn't always friendly to strangers but he helped anyway.

All of us stood there in the sleet. Suddenly political differences, religious views, backgrounds and culture didn't matter. We were united without motive or reward, driven only by compassion and humanity. It was a beautiful moment.

No one asked for anything from the student, they only gave.

And the last thing they gave was a warm, wide smile as she got back in her car and headed safely on her way.

I was so moved by this that I got everyone's contact info and partnered with my buddy Vaughn, chief cookie guy (what a job!), to send the good samaritans cookies. He had just started his cookie company and the timing seemed right. It was a small reward for their time and muddied suits but nevertheless something we could do.

Cookies with a note of gratitude: "Thank you for your selfless act of concern for a fellow neighbor. Many people drove right by but you stopped and offered whatever you could (even getting dirty in the rain and mud). Your acts of kindness will not be forgotten. We hope you enjoy sweet cookies to match the sweetness of your good work. Happy holidays!"

I sent Vaughn's magnificent chocolate chunk cookies with whole cherries, but he sells other stuff too. See --> Decadent Cookies (But don't blame me if you eat the whole lot in one sitting! They're *that* good. I mean, Vaughn & I are friends and all, but not the kind where I would lie about a cookie just to be nice! ;)

Easily the best cookies I've ever eaten in my entire life.

Anyway, so thanks for sharing a memory that is sweet on more than one count.


Suburban Sweetheart said...

I really love this post & I maybe cried just a little. When strangers come together like that - even & sometimes especially when it's not life-threatening, which means they don't "need" to, per se - it revitalizes my belief in humanity & in Anne Frank's words: "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." Thanks for posting this.

Dan said...

You are a wonderful sweet person.

carissajaded said...

Awww that is the sweetest thing ive read all day!! You are amazing!! I dont know how many times i've been in that situation and needed someone like you!

kevin forgot said...

i heard that vaughn's cookies bring all the boys to the yard. is that true?

geekhiker said...

Very cool, on multiple counts.

You could start a sub-business, sending cookies to anyone who's done a random act of kindness around the country!

Niffer said...

I am a firm believer that this sort of act comes back to you.

Once my mom picked up a guy from the side of the road who was walking in the rain. He was wearing his business suit and carrying his briefcase. He had car troubles and was so heart broken over the fact that he was going to miss his daughter's rehearsal. She offered to drive him all the way to her school for her show. Once there, he asked my mom where she lived, which was 45 minutes in the opposite direction. He was so shocked by her act of kindness.

About 6 months later I needed multiple fillings done on my teeth. When I went to go pay for them, I was told they were "on the house." As it turns out, my dentist was the guy who my mom gave the ride to and he recognized my last name. I think it probably saved us $1k in dental bills.

P said...

This is such a heart warming story I can't help but smile. I needed that!

hebba said...

that made me smile. Thanks

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