Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Little Something Good*

I've been feeling really down lately. As you know, I was fired from my job and I'm in danger of losing my apartment. I have a page on, which is a site for people to ask for help, but no one as helped me, except one person who donated $1. I've asked for help from the blogosphere, but no one's responded from there, either. I was beginning to think that there were no kind people out there in the world, then two things happened: hurricane Katrina, and car keys.

Hurricane Katrina, as devastating as it was, showed that most people really are good-hearted and will help if they realize that there's a real disaster. Last I heard, billions, yes, billions, of dollars had been donated by the American people to help the victims of that terrible storm. Texas has taken in the lion's share of Katrina refugees, and everywhere I go I see churches, apartment complexes, businesses, you name it, all offering their services to the evacuees. It's so heartwarming. The only fly in the ointment was that none of that goodwill was benefitting me. I know, that's a very selfish thought; but as desperate as I am, and as long as I've been asking for help and getting ignored, I have to admit that I'd been feeling rather jealous of the Katrina victims. I thought, is the only way to get help from people is to lose everything but the shirt off your back? What about people who just need a little help to keep from getting evicted from their home before they can find a job or get the paycheck from the job they already have? I didn't find an answer to that problem, but I did get a little good fortune myself.

Last Wednesday, I locked my keys in my car in front of my friend's antique store where I work. I was heartsick. I had just bought lunch and was looking forward to munching my food while I worked in the store and listented to talk radio. I had the image clearly in my mind. Then that happened. There I was: keys in the car, no way to get into the store, no cell phone to call for help, and no money to afford a locksmith. I felt like crying. I cursed God. It seemed like just a little thing, but with everything else going wrong in my life, I truly didn't need this!

I decided to ask the store owner next door, Marci, if I could use her phone. Well, she only had a cell phone, and at first it wouldn't work. Then, when it started working, she called a locksmith and he wanted $35 to open the door. I didn't have $35! And neither did Marci! What the hell was I going to do? Then Marci asked her helper, Jeff, to see if he could get the door opened with a coat hanger. So Jeff went over and started working on my car. Then, out of the blue, a Hispanic boy and his girlfriend pulled into the parking lot and asked what was wrong. These people were total strangers, and they stopped to help me! The boy got out of his truck and starting helping Jeff to open my car. They worked for an hour--the boy's truck running the whole time--then the boy managed to get my keys with the coat hanger and pulled them through the opening he and Jeff had made by pulling the car window back a bit. I was elated! My keys were out, and I didn't have to pay a dime!(I did give Jeff and the Hispanic boy $5 a piece for their trouble).

After the ordeal was all over, and I was able to get into the store and eat my now-cold lunch, I started thinking. Marci didn't have to call the locksmith for me. Jeff didn't have to help me. The Hispanic boy didn't have to help me. All of them helped me because they wanted to be kind people. They wanted to be kind to me. Maybe I wasn't cursed, as I often suspected. Maybe there was some good luck for me in this world after all. I just hope I can find more of it.

(The asterisk by the title means that this is a post dealing only with my personal issues. From now on, that's how I'm going to distinguish personal posts from social commentary.)

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