The Kindness of Strangers

I was on my way to take my dogs to the groomer this morning. I took our older car, which has been sitting in the driveway since my husband and I began carpooling a couple of months ago. We’re usually either going places together, or one of us is home while the other’s away. So while it’s sitting, the air in the tires apparently got very low. I had to stop for gas anyway, so I figured I’d fill up the air, too.

Well… one of them just wouldn’t fill. I don’t know where the hole was, or if maybe I just had some brain fart when it came to pumping air. It started getting flatter, and I finally conceded that I had to change the tire right there. Fortunately, the parking spot next to me was open, so I had some room to maneuver the jack.

Several people drove by. Many people looked my way. One guy even parked behind me to use the air pump, since I was taking up the spot next to it. When I opened the trunk to put some supplies in, I noticed him carefully avoiding my eye, much like people are wont to do with a man on a corner with a will-work-for-food sign.

The coup-de-gras, though, was the little blue Datsun pickup, whose driver tried to pull into the empty spot next to me, saw me, sat and waited a minute for me to move, then peeled away (seriously, peeled out – so presumably it was in frustration). As he turned around to park in the line of spots perpendicular to the one I was in, I noticed an ichthian decal on his tailgate. Nice.

Finally, just as I was taking the last lugnut off, and getting ready to take the flat tire down, a man asked me if I needed help. I accepted, and he was done in a flash. Wouldn’t even take the cash I tried to offer him and his wife for their kindness. I appreciate them both completely – they took time out of their day to help a stranger, with no reward but the satisfaction of their actions.

As you can probably see, I am definitely not against the whole help-a-woman-in-need thing. I don’t take an offer of help to mean that I (or women in general) am to weak to handle it. Rather, I appreciate it greatly, and am perfectly independent enough to tell someone I don’t need it if that’s the case. I’m human, and I’m okay with the fact that I could use a bit of help now and then. I’m even okay if you choose not to offer help, whatever your reasons. But I sure have a problem with being treated like an inconvenience while I struggle with an obstacle, especially by someone who so proudly displays a symbol that is supposed to represent kindness and love.


1 Comment

  1. November 8, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Hello, I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your username over at the Skepticblog. I am a big fan of DNA. I even run his Fangroup over at the Atheist Nexus:

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