Acts of kindness

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Good Samaritan

This man was kind enough to direct backed-up traffic on the BQE.

I’m in awe of the experiences I have had with good people coming to my “rescue” at challenging times in my life. I wish I could give them a badge “Good Samaritan,” but the best I can do is share the kindness of these total strangers.

My memory brings me back to when I was selling my house in Melville. Josh, my youngest child, had gone off to college and tragically my fiancé died suddenly of a heart attack. It was time to move on. I decided to hold a tag sale to make way for my move back to Bayside and a smaller living space at the Bay Club.

There was furniture to sell, “tchotchkes” (small items) and clothing. My beloved fiance Nat was 6’5” and was a clothes horse, having many things made to order on his numerous business trips to Hong Kong. Being a tall man, size was a challenge, but he was always a fashion plate. But now he was gone!

At the tag sale a man who was Nat’s exact height came to look. He was a strappingly tall and strong man who was a perfect fit for the clothes. We began chatting and I told him of my loss and the overwhelming job of preparing for the move. It was hard to envision clearing the house totally after years of accumulation. But the sale required me to leave the house “broom clean.” This wonderful man said he would gladly help me until the job was done! I felt like Nat had sent his replacement to help me get through the traumatic move. A stranger became my guardian angel.

And as miraculously as he arrived, he quietly left when the job was done, never to be heard from again.

Then, many years later, I was stuck on the BQE in standstill traffic. There was a terrible downpour all day and unbeknownst to me, the road had flooded and a car was literally underwater, stopping any possible movement. Then, stepping out into the pouring rain came a man to say “I’m going to back everyone out, toward the closest exit, just follow me.” And sure enough, this good Samaritan, soaking wet but undaunted, began directing the traffic backwards to get off the highway. He became my hero too.

And then another kind man helped me to unlock my car. I had accidently dropped the key inside the trunk and slammed it shut before I realized my mistake. In this case it was my neighbor, the owner of Avli Little Greek Tavern on Bell Boulevard, who saw my plight and came to my rescue. He was so kind and patient; he used a hanger to open the door and I was off. It was a true act of kindness.

Then just last week I had a key to my car that wouldn’t open it! A young man coming out of the doctor’s office nearby on Bell Boulevard saw me fussing. He told me he had three cars of a similar make and asked if I needed help. He checked the key and thought it might need a battery, so he volunteered to go down the street and get one. In a few minutes he was back. But it did not work. I decided to go back up to my office and check my pocketbook for another key. In this keyless world I never take the key out of my purse. I had parked at a meter and had to add time. Sure enough, as I dug down deeply into the bottomless pit of my pocketbook, there was another key. So down again I went and lo and behold it opened the car! The key I had been using was for my old car that I had forgotten to return. But another stranger came into my life and spent so much of his precious time trying to help me.

I’m so grateful for the many kindnesses of strangers.