Two Stories Of Kindness I Won't Forget
Posted by Anuj Pandey on Feb 12, 2018
Hi, my name is Arvind. This is my second time joining this circle, but before speaking on the topic, I just want to say that I came in here feel very heavy hearted and right now, I'm feeling very light hearted. I don't know how that happened, but thank you.
So, I don't know if this is spiritual activism or not, but here are two stories I won't forget. One I received, and another I offered.
I remember, on second day in the United States, more than 20 years ago, I was driving out. Now, I thought, "If I get lost, I can just stop a tea shop or somewhere and figure it out. Like how we do in India." So I didn't do any homework. And here, all roads look alike. No GPS. I have a little baby in the back, and I don't even know how to put her in a car seat. She was in my wife's lap, and someone told me it was illegal. Oh God. You can just imagine the scene. No cell phones, either -- this is almost 23 years back.
An old lady saw this and came up to me, "Sir, are you looking for something?" This is Columbus, South Carolina, so the accent itself is quite to understand for someone from India, like me! Add to that, my accent. I said, "M'aam, I'm so sorry." How I'm speaking now, this is my slow speed of talking. :) So you can imagine that time. Somehow, finally, I communicated to her, "M'aam, can you tell me how to reach my home here?" The very sweet lady, "Oh, yes, I know the place. Come, I will drop you." I said, "No, M'aam, you just draw it and I know how to understand things." But that old lady insisted, "No, no. I would love to see your house."
Trust me, that 80+ year old woman dropped us all the way home. I have never forgotten that incident, even for a day. That was my first impression of America, so I called my father and all my friends and said, "Oh people are so friendly here." :)
The second story I wanted to share is also a car incident.
Back in 2015, I ended up on the East Coast, in a small pre-Civil War town called Manchester by the Sea. Again, it was my second day there, I was driving and couldn't see too much, the road was winding -- and boom, this gentleman's car just rammed into me! It was my fault, but trust me, I have never heard these many abuses in one go, ever in my life!
Naturally, my immediate was nervousness and then some anger. "Why is this guy talking like this?" He must've insulted my seven generation, and whole lot. He just couldn't stop.
I said, "What's wrong? This is an accident. Accident happen." And then he replied, "My son is going for a test. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you have ruined it."
Immediately, I understood. Putting aside all the abuses, I said, "Look, my wife is here, she happens to be on the other side of the road, and she has another car. Do not worry. Accidents happen, but we will make sure your son gets where he needs to go."
Now that was like throwing water on a very hot plate! Something just shifted in him. His was dropped, and the number of times he said sorry to me was even more than the number of abuses he hurled at me earlier. I don't know what prompted me to be generous in that moment, but I can't forget that moment.
To this day, that man is one of my best friends.