The Kindness of Strangers

“I can’t. I already have it hooked up to the truck.”

This is one of the most bullshit phrases that Americans still use today. Which is exactly what I was thinking as I was now sprinting the stroller with my very sleepy and hungry baby in it back to my wife’s slightly inclined car.

Not only did I learn back in kindergarten that what goes up must also come down, but the eyeball test would indicate that there currently weren’t any other cars on the back of the tow truck and common sense would dictate that they went somewhere and the most likely scenario is that they were put back down. So yes, jerkwad who has now seen the panicked look of a father with his infant child seeing his only way home from Baltimore being towed away, you CAN put the car back down. You just WON’T put it back down.

If you wanted to see some picturesque coolness under pressure, you should have seen my daughter. Seeing the worry on my face, Mabel looked at me and said “It’s OK, daddy. Calm down. We have all my food here, we got here in time to find out where the car is going and the nice man who’s really just doing his job offered us a ride. And who knows? Maybe it’s company policy that they can’t put the car back down once they start the tow. Maybe it’s dangerous to the vehicles around it. Let’s just find our way there and get back home. It’s only money.”

I hate it when she uses reason.

I definitely did not keep my cool. My voice cracked and I verged on tears, and not just for leverage either. Legitimate end-of-Big-Fish-type of tears. I tried to figure out how the hell to get to the impound lot and couldn’t interpret my options at the time. The offer on the table was for me to sit up front in the cab with him while Britney Spears-ing my baby girl. This was not going to happen. Though there was a moment of desperation where I thought “what the hell could really happen.” My wife could shoot me in the face with a bazooka, that’s what could happen. I asked if we could ride in the car as it was being towed. Turns out we’re not allowed to do that. All these damn rules.

Fortunately, a very nice woman who saw this all happen and shared in my horror of the rottenness of the by-the-book integrity of this city employee offered a hand. She first tried to assist me with my argument, thinking that maybe a woman’s touch could appeal to his softer side or maybe just if we outnumbered him, democracy would set in or maybe she just wanted to comfort me, but it didn’t work on any level. She then offered me a ride, though Mabel’s car seat didn’t attach into her car seat holder thingy. HOWEVER, she had an older child who had a forward-facing car seat which could suffice for the seven-minute ride to the impound lot. So the tow man got me my GPS and let me put my stroller in the car and off he went.

This incredibly kind onlooker had to go buy cat food and then she would drive us to the impound lot, which I’ve been meaning to show Mabel anyway. Kelly, as I found out her name, has two children of her own and her husband went to law school at UB. She also shares a dislike for people who take other people’s cars off the street, so we bonded over that for a minute. Meanwhile, as tired and hungry as Mabel was, she must have sensed that she needed to summon her inner Fonz and just sit there and be cool, shooting daddy a cockeyed half-smile when he needed one. Or maybe she was too confused at what life was like riding forward for a change.

As we got to the impound lot, I tried to get Kelly’s email address to possibly repay her or at least send her a thank you card. She refused. I told her about this website, so hopefully she will read this story and it will make her feel better to know that she is now publicly appreciated. Even so, it was nice to see the scales of kindness dip way down to one side only to quickly even themselves out again. Thank you, Kelly, for the early holiday gift. I wish you the same should you ever have your car impounded from DC.

To be continued…

4 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Pingback: The Kindness of Strangers: The Tenth Day of Giftmas | Dustin Rec Sports

  2. I think there are angels where and when we need them. Sucks for your car, but I’m glad that you were shown mercy and that Kelly got the opportunity to spread some cheer. With everything bad that happened in December, there was still so much good, too. It warms my heart to know that there are still good kind-hearted people in this world that are kind for the sake of being kind and not looking for any kick-backs or rewards. Thanks for sharing your story and thanks to Kelly! And way to go, Mabel!

    • Maybe angels, maybe karma, maybe some global balance of good and bad in the universe. I don’t know, but something was at work that day for the two of us. I felt the need to try to thank everyone who would have done something like that, but I think they all know who they are. Even so, thanks to you all for making this life a little less stressful knowing that you’re out there in case one of us needs a little help.

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