The Kindness of Strangers

Posted on: 22 December, 11

"Whoever you are, I've always depended on the kindness of strangers." ~~Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

From an early age, I learned to take care of myself, to be fiercely independent.   I have always been the one who helps, never the one who needs help.  This whole knee saga has forced me to accept help from others.  Friends have been amazing.  That didn't particularly surprise me.  I am extremely grateful, but not surprised.  I have incredible friends who do incredible things.  However, I did not count on the kindness of strangers. 

When I was on crutches or wearing a brace, people helped me with packages or held doors open for me.  People were helpful and nice to me.  When I flew to Connecticut to see the specialist, I squirmed in the tiny airplane seat to find a comfortable position for my knee.  The man seated next to me noticed I was in pain.  He asked if wanted to stretch my leg across his knees.  We acknowledged the creepiness and awkwardness of his offer, but I was in so much pain, that I accepted.  The guy sitting next to us cast a few uncomfortable glances.  My human leg rest was a complete and delightful gentleman. 

Once my disability became invisible because I no longer wore a brace, I expected the special treatment to disappear.  Nope.  People are still kind. 

At a gallery show, I chatted with the artist for a few minutes about his work and art in general.  A few days later, a mysterious package was delivered.  The artist sent me one of his pieces with a note, "I wanted you to have this.  My gift to you." 

When the guy came to clean out the gutters, he climbed on the roof and used a leaf blower to blow all the leaves out of the gutters.  I expected him to clean up the leaves and muck that came out of the gutters.  I did not expect him to clean up ALL the leaves in the yard. 

On a cold rainy morning, a darling young man offered to pump my gas for me so I could stay in my warm car. 

I was the last to order at a restaurant because I couldn't decide between two entrees.  When the food was served, the waiter brought the entrée I ordered… and a smaller plate with a sampling of the other entrée.  With a big smile, he said, "I know you really wanted both."  He was right.  Both were delicious and totally consumed.

Of course, there is my amazing PT guy who stays in touch with me, my surgeon, and my new PT guy, even though he has moved out of state.  He continues to research my case, offering suggestions and advice.  He is still my biggest cheerleader when I start to lose motivation.

I went with a friend to listen to her husband's band play Christmas songs at an outdoor cafe.  We ordered drinks and dessert.  The waiter kept our glasses full and my slice of cake was huge.  When we asked for the check, he said, "It's my treat tonight.  I hope you have a great night."  Of course we left him a great tip, but what a sweet surprise. 


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