The Kindness of Strangers

Since it’s (Canadian) Thanksgiving today, I thought I’d talk about something I’m thankful for – the kindness of strangers.

Whether you and your friends are lost in Old Harlow and need a helpful jogger to take you back to campus, or whether it’s an awesome New York stranger who tells your sister to call her if the hospital gives you any crap (while you try not to pass out from the pain in your knee), strangers can be wonderful.

Not that I’m condoning getting into strange cars or going down abandoned alleys.  You know what I mean.

This story happened in Malaga, Spain.  My school group was flying to London for a couple of days before heading back home to Newfoundland.  I had spent all my pesetas (the currency in Spain before the Euro), since I wasn’t going to need them any more.  The problem was that once we arrived at the airport our flight was delayed by 5 hours.

Myself and some friends went to the cafeteria for some food, although I couldn’t buy anything since I had no money.  I sat with my friends as they ate, waiting for the time to pass.  I’m sure we talked, but I have no recollection about what.

Then a woman I’d never met before came over to our table.  She said that she was leaving the country and that she had no need for the rest of her money.  She handed me about $30 worth of pesetas.

I was shocked.  This had never happened to me before.  I asked her if she was certain and she said yes.  So I took the money and treated my friends to Haagen Daz ice cream, since I felt weird spending it all on myself.

That happened about 13 years ago (oh wow do I ever feel old right now), and I’m still surprised by it.  That woman was sitting far enough away from our table that she didn’t have to approach us.  I wasn’t asking for money, I was just the only person at the table not eating.  For all she knew, I could have been on a diet or something.

So, yeah, that lady was awesome.  Some strangers make a 5 hour delay seem like 10 hours, but she made it one that I will never forget.

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