Thursday, December 14, 2006

The kindness of strangers

Yesterday morning I pulled into a Chicago area Loyola parking lot on my way to see my rheumatologist. All the handicapped parking spaces were full. I drifted to the far side of the lots and found two vacant space, slipped my van into one, and swung my door wide to ease out my unbending knees.

After I was in my wheelchair I looked at the slender, empty space on the driver's side and thought, if a vehicle pulls into the slot, I'll never be able to get into the van. Lord, I'll need help.

Sure enough. When I returned from my appointment a car was parked on the drivers side. I looked around. A Middle Eastern man neared me. "Sir," I said, sitting in my wheelchair, "I can't get into my van with the car parked next to it. Could you please back it out for me?" I held out the keys.

"Yes, I will be glad to help you," he said in accented English.

He could drive off, I thought, as he backed up and manuevered the van into the lane. Once he had it in the lane he got out. I thanked him. He continued on his way and I loaded up my wheelchair.

A leader depends on the kindness of strangers.

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