Years ago, when our only car died we did without, for a full year.
We lived in a small town. We could walk and there was one bus route which went right through the complex we lived in, and my husband was able to get rides to and from work from a co-worker. We managed.
This year, I wasn’t really thinking of the possibility of being without a car not even after my husband’s car gave up the ghost. Mine was fine. More or less.
Then mine went down.
And it would happen at the end of the month and money. Not to mention right before we were planning to drive up to our daughter’s college graduation.
And if you think being without a car in a big city should be easier than in a small town. Think again.
For my husband, a disabled vet, it wasn’t too difficult. He can still walk around, at least enough to catch the city bus and he gets a steep discount because he is disabled. Then again, most of his appointments were through the VA and the DAV, Disabled American Vets, runs a bus service just for the vets to get to their appointments. So for him, being without a car only meant it took longer to get there.
For me to get to the grocery store, which is more than a mile away, or my daughters to get to their doctors’ appointments, required finding someone to take us.
No problem. We’re regular church goers. Pull up a church roster and call a few stay at home or otherwise retired women and ask for some help.
At a guess I’d say over the last three weeks eight out of ten calls I made went to voicemail. I must have placed around ten to fifteen calls every other day or so, and out of all those only one person ever got back to me. She saw I’d called her several times earlier that day.
Needless to say, between all the appointments my daughters had over the last three weeks and just trying to keep milk in the house, it felt like trying to pull teeth to get rides. My fridge will only hold so much milk and it never lasts longer than three days. I was lucky if I could get a ride every four to six days. Plus each of my daughters ended up canceling an appointment because we couldn’t find them a ride. (For several reasons the bus system wouldn’t have worked for my girls the biggest one being they’d be out in the sun for far too long, which neither one can do for medical reasons.)
So I was really happy to get my car up and running again, though feeling basic human kindness was a thing of the past.
Then yesterday two of my daughters and I were at the store and we had to get dogfood. With five dogs, it’s a fifty pound bag. We were shifting things in my trunk to make room for it when a gentleman walked up, commenting on the size of the bag and dropped it in.
I’ll admit both my daughters are petite, but they’re used to moving those bags. We get them every month. But after all the trouble I had trying get the help I did need from people I know, it rather astounded me to have complete stranger be a gentleman.
All three of us thanked him, though he made light of it as he walked off.
This man passed it forward. Now it’s your turn.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.