Today, I’d like to broach a non-writerly topic: the existence of good in this world. After all I’ve been through in my life (cancer X2, the fall of Washington Mutual and with it foreclosure, bankruptcy, repo, etc.) I was unprepared for what happened yesterday in an an inauspicious place: the parking lot of an outlet mall.
Since my layoff from Microsoft in March, money has been tight. My husband, who has Asperger’s, relies on a very small disability check to get by.
So, as we engaged in a heated argument in the above parking lot about his purchasing shoes, we were approached by a stranger. He was much like anyone else you’d see in the Seattle area: middle-aged, dressed in a tracksuit, his hair and full beard fully grey.
His next words to my husband sent me into literal shock: “May I buy a pair of shoes for you?”
After my Life of Job during the Great Recession, when I learned (painfully) that as you hit rock bottom, nobody really cares, this stranger’s simple offer struck me like the lava flow at Kilauea. Why did this man–a complete stranger–offer to render a kindness without being prompted? Why did he go with us into a store and insist that my husband buy two pairs of shoes (on sale), then selflessly remove his credit card and charge over $90? AGAIN-FOR A TOTAL STRANGER.
I asked if he were religious and he said he was a believer, though not a regular churchgoer.
Still, this act of unrandom kindness continues to reverberate. Just when I thought that in this age of lies and corruption, human goodness was dead, here came this middle-aged man in a parking lot to prove me decidedly wrong.
When I can, I’ll pay it forward. When I next get depressed, I’ll think about this man and his act.
I realize now that Good Samaritans live among us, and they emerge in the strangest of places.