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August 21, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

This blog post has nothing to do with genealogy. It's about something that happened to me many years ago (33 years to be exact). It's been on my mind a lot recently although I don't know why.

When my oldest son was 4 years old, the two of us flew to Florida to visit my mother for a week. We used an airport near Naples Florida, but I can't recall the name. On the day we were to fly home to Canada, we discovered that the airline had gone bankrupt.

Somehow we managed to get a flight to New York - I honestly can't recall details as I was quite distressed by the turn of events! Flying to New York was a nightmare as we had to keep landing and picking up new passengers.

I guess we were on some kind of commuter plane. My son and I were both hungry as we'd had nothing since a quick breakfast with my mom but all that was on hand were bags of peanuts. We are both allergic to nuts so we went hungry for many hours.

I was told that after I landed  in New York I had to take a taxi to another airport to catch my last flight which would take me to Toronto where my husband would be waiting for me. But that was going to be several more hours. My 4 year old son was crying with hunger and I had no money to buy food when we landed. Nor did I have money for a taxi!

I'd been chatting with a man sitting beside me on the plane. He showed me pictures of his wife and family and we shared stories. When he heard me telling my son that he had to be patient as I had no way to buy him food, he immediately insisted on buying us lunch in the New York terminal. I wanted his name and address to pay him back but he refused, saying it wasn't necessary and that he hoped someone would do the same for his wife and son if they were ever stranded.

So we had lunch with a very kind stranger who then made sure my son and I were safely put into a taxi (which he paid for) and that the driver knew exactly where we were to go.

My son and I both waved as the driver pulled out. We did arrive safely home, some 14 hours after we started out that morning, exhausted but glad to be safe and sound.

That was the last I saw of this kind stranger but I have thought about him over the years and hoped that his kindness was repaid. I don't know why I've been thinking about that event but it's been on my mind a lot. I think it's time I acknowledged his kindness even though I do not know his name.

So whoever you are, wherever you are - thank you.


Mary said...

Great Story, thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth Saunders said...

Awww! Thanks for sharing that story.

Carol said...

Paying it forward, never old, never new, just wonderful. Great story!

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski said...

Terrific story - I'm so glad you followed your instincts and shared this beautiful story.

Michelle Goodrum said...

What a heartwarming story!