Question of the Day

All right, now that we’ve complained about the rudeness of strangers, today’s question is: What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

I could come up with a list a mile long of all the generous things that strangers (including many, many, many of my fellow Shakers) have done for me, but the one that sticks out most clearly in my mind was just a split-second thing…

I was approaching some train tracks at night on a country road that wasn’t lit, and the tracks had no gates. I stopped, rolled down the window to listen, craned my neck in either direction, and was just about to drive across when a car on the other side of the tracks flashed its headlights at me. I paused for just a moment, and in that moment, a train going a zillion miles an hour flew in front of me. My heart just completely stopped for a moment or two.

I don’t know how I missed seeing or hearing that train coming, but the driver in the other car was paying attention and sussed out that I was ready to roll into its path. Taking the moment to flick those headlights quite literally saved my life. I still think about that all the time, for some reason. It happened 15 years ago.

Numerous kindly Brits have also pulled me out of the path of oncoming traffic, usually careening black cabs, after I’ve looked the wrong way before crossing the street. My Londoner Andy alone probably deserves a medal. (Unless you’re of the mind I deserve crushing, in which case, not so much.)

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