(Part I can be found HERE, and Part II can be found HERE.)
Today I went out into the torrential rains to run a couple of errands. I wanted a cup of coffee, so I went to a Starbucks with a drive-thru so I wouldn't have to get out in the rain. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea because the drive-thru line was very long. As I was waiting, the reverse lights of the SUV in front of me came on & the (very large) vehicle started backing toward my (little) car. I leaned on the horn, but no matter- the SUV backed into me anyway. My first reaction was annoyance "How STUPID is it to back up without even looking behind you??" I got out of my car, and the driver of the SUV did the same, looking shaken, and apologizing profusely. We both looked at my car, and there was no visible damage, so I told her "Okay, don't worry about it." She kept apologizing, but it was over as far as I was concerned, and we got back into our respective vehicles. When I got to the drive-thru window, I was told that she had told the barista how nice I had been to her, and she had paid for my coffee. It was totally unexpected, and such a nice gesture that it put a big smile on my face.
So, I pulled out of the parking lot and got into the left-hand turning lane so I could head toward my credit union. The rain was really coming down, and I was driving more tentatively than I normally do, so instead of making a left turn on a yellow light (with a car coming toward me), I waited for the car to stop before proceeding to turn. The truck behind me attempted to make a left turn around me (which was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG), and as we both turned, I saw a police car turn as well, and drive behind the truck. After a couple of blocks, when we stopped at a stoplight, the cops pulled up next to me, so I rolled down my window. The one in the driver's seat told me that my tags were expired. I told them "I know, but I was unemployed for a long time, and couldn't afford to renew when they expired." It was the truth - I couldn't even pay my rent on time at the beginning of December - there was no way I could spend $288 on my car registration (but, yes, I do have insurance). He said "I won't give you a ticket because it's raining so hard, but please take care of it." I thanked them, promised I would (I will TODAY), and kept going, feeling relieved & glad that I would finally be able to take care of this problem once I made the deposit at the credit union.
So I went to the credit union, then to the drugstore. When I left the drugstore, there was a little (MAYBE 5 feet tall) filipino woman standing just outside of the door. She looked worried, so I asked if she was okay. In heavily accented English, she said she had walked to the store during a brief moment when the rain had let up, but that she couldn't get home in the downpour. I offered her a ride. Like all of us in big cities (and some small), I am well aware that you can't just offer ANYBODY a ride or it's likely that you'll end up watching your tail lights head away from you down the boulevard (and you'll be lucky if that's ALL that happens), but I had about a foot and 100 lbs. on this woman, so I wasn't worried. She kept asking "are you sure it's okay?" I assured her that it was fine, assuming that if it was close enough for her to walk, it couldn't be THAT far away. Her house was less than a mile away, and we chatted while we drove. She told me that she had to ride the bus to work the day before,and was drenched when she arrived. I told her I know that feeling from the time when I rode public transportation to work when I was at the insurance company. She asked me if I was off for the day, I told her I'm an actress, and she said she'd be on the lookout for me. She was 52, but looked 40. She thought I was a college student. lol I dropped her off at home, and she was so grateful.
After she got out of the car I wondered what kind of world we live in where we have to be wary about helping and being kind to people. I wondered what that does to the human spirit. I was surprised at how good I felt at having been able to provide even a small amount of assistance. But most of all, I started thinking about how I can best be of service in the future.