The Kindness of Strangers

A Caring Stranger

We had an inspiring presentation at the office last week. Doug Harris of The Kaleidoscope Group was full of encouraging messages and conveyed to us the spirit of leadership that is found within all of us.  Mr. Harris counseled us on emulating the power of others, even if that influence is found in the kindness of a caring stranger.

His advice reminded me of someone I once met.

My Encounter

My daily walk to the commuter train included marching down a very steep hill in the Beverly Hills neighborhood.  It was definitely something to watch out for, even on a dry day.  I learned the best way to travel down its sudden slope was to turn both feet toward the left, rather than pointing straight downwards.

But one winter morning I tentatively approached the daunting hill, knowing it was full of ice and snow.  The city plows didn’t always bother with that street due to its sharp incline.   Therefore, that morning was extra tough with the winter conditions, and I was hesitating to make that final leg of the journey.

Suddenly a large dark-colored SUV pulled up next to me.  The driver rolled down her passenger-side window and called out , “Do you need a ride?”

“Yes!” I cried.

Thank goodness. I stepped onto the running board and slid into the large side seat.  Her vehicle was welcoming and warm, with the heater turned up to high.

“Thank you so much,” I told her. “I’m scheduled for surgery tomorrow and don’t think my joints are going to support me plodding down that hill.”

She could see I was struggling and asked where I was going.  It was just two more blocks to the train station, where I’d wait for the commuter train to downtown Chicago.


She asked about my procedure and I told her I was getting a much-needed knee replacement. At that point, my joint was largely useless and I was relying on my right knee and hip for support. My balance was out of whack.

She had no idea how much it meant to me that she stopped to give me a lift.  The small gesture let me remember that I could get through the hospital stay and recovery.  She reminded me that I’m not alone.

“God bless you,” she said as I alighted from her SUV.

How Kind Of Her!

Eight years later my knee is happy and well.  And eight years later I still recall the small, random kindness of a stranger.  Although she doesn’t know it, her thoughtfulness stuck with me.

Her act reminds me there are kind-hearted people in our midst.  And I’ll try to be more like her, because you never know who’s approaching that steep slope in their life.

They might need a little lift.

Thank you for reading and sharing.  For other inspiring stories, click here and here.

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