Photo: Your Beautiful Life
A year ago this week, I was living in the UK, driving to work, when I collided with a cyclist. It was the most horrible experience one can have. I was in a state. The events seem to be happening to someone else, as I looked on. I remember getting out of my car, which was parked in the middle of the street, walking over to the cyclist, asking if he was okay, and falling apart. I just couldn’t handle it. A small crowd had already gathered. While we waited for the police to arrive, the cyclist and I talked for a bit. HE was trying to console me, even joking about the situation, in an effort to find some humor. He was a kind man. The majority of British people are. Thankfully, he didn’t need to be hospitalized. Cyclists/car drivers incidents in Bristol are alarming.
Where am I going with this, you wonder? Well, I will get to that. As I sat on the cold pavement waiting, a lovely, kind, and compassionate lady, Theresa, who was on her way to work, and saw the entire incident, came over to comfort me. As we spoke, she gently rubbed my shoulders. Thinking about the incident now, moves me to tears. One kind stranger, helping another. I apologized for keeping her from going about her business, to which she replied “It’s okay my dear. Please don’t worry about it.” She would later share that she did have a meeting to attend, but she felt like she was needed there. I was floored.
Amidst all the mayhem, I had forgotten to take my jacket out of the car, and was only reminded how cold it was, when yet another kind stranger, came up to me, and asked if she could buy me a cup of tea. I looked into her gentle features; the concern on her face was unmistakable. At my nod of consent, she walked away to the nearest café shop. All I could utter upon her return was a “Thank you”. She smiled warmly at me, wished me all the best, and told me she had to be off to work. My attitude was one of immense gratitude.
Present day: I’m in the NYC at this time. Public transportation is the way forward. A few months ago, I was on the select bus; one stop away from my place of abode. As passengers boarded the bus, I heard a young lady, a few rows behind me, pleading with the passenger next to her, to call emergency services. I have medical training, so of course my antennas went up. She was in acute physical distress. I got up from my seat and approached her. The passenger by this time, had moved ahead to tell the driver of the medical emergency. She was sweating profusely, vomiting, and had a “glazed” look in her eyes.
I asked the normal questions; name, date, where she was, etc. She was lucid and aware of her surroundings. I spoke to her in soothing tones, asked her to hang in there, as help was on the way. I assured her that I would stay with her until EMS arrived. By this time, another young lady, who later identified herself as a nurse, had joined us. I briefly checked towards the driver’s seat, and was stunned to see the bus was empty! All the passengers had vacated, and got on their way. New York is the best city in the world; it can also be a harsh at times! I didn’t have time to process anything else.
The nurse and I stayed with the ill passenger until rescue came. We kept talking to her in an effort to keep her calm and reassured. We told her the medical professionals in the hospital would take good care of her, and she will be okay. I offered her the tissues I was holding to mop the sweat off her face. I asked her for the phone number to a family member. The person who answered was ever so grateful that someone reached out to let her know a family member was ill. After EMS departed, I called the family member again to let her know where she was being taken. I thought about this young lady over the next several days. I hoped she was okay, and that her medical issues were sorted out on time.
I share this story for two reasons; the incident left an indelible impression on me, and we have a responsibility to pay it forward. Earlier in the year, strangers recognized I was in a bad way, and because of their kindness, a burden was made lighter. Months later, a situation offered me the opportunity, to be of comfort to someone one else. At home later that night, I thought about the young woman, nurse, and the bus driver, all whose paths crossed with mine. I was never happier to be in the right place at the right time.
We all want better for ourselves, and hopefully the same for others. Paying it forward results in mutually shared joy, and keeps the flame of hope burning in people. Creating ripples of kindness helps to make the world, “a better place, for you, me, and the entire human race”. Life is a continuum. Sometimes it’s not about you or me. Life can deal shitty hands at times. Yet, we often find ourselves s in a position to save someone or vice versa. We are able to learn the mechanics of reciprocity, when stand together and rise.
Until the next post,