Mielke: A simple act of kindness

Have you ever had one of those days when the sun, for some mysterious reason, simply refuses to show its happy little face in your world?

Of course you have.

Everybody has!

I know bad days happen to everyone, but still I was more than a little shocked when my day went from bad to worse and I am ashamed to admit I even did the moaning ‘why me’ thing for longer than I care to recall.

It began as an ordinary day, a day like any other day, with the sun rising in the east and a few hopeful birds pecking at the dismally empty bird feeder outside my kitchen window.

“Sorry birds,” I muttered. “I will feed you when I get home.”

I clicked on the daily forecast on my iPhone and was pleased to see a bright yellow little sun. No fog, snow, ice, freezing rain or ordinary rain forecasted. Optimistically I stamped the little happy face icon on the positive thinking side of my brain.

I climbed into my vehicle, all confident and, in reality, completely clueless as to what lay ahead. I turned the key.

And that’s when the bright yellow sun that coloured my world started to slide under a mysterious black cloud.

You know how cars that won’t start make this sound like they are protesting something when you turn the key, something that only they know about. And then you know how they eventually just whine like they are really, really tired and, finally, they just quit. Well, that’s what my car did. It protested, whined and finally, it just quit.

In desperation, I called the tow truck company. The tow truck guy was charming and friendly and sympathetic. In a voice edged with hysteria I told him I needed to get to work right away. I babbled on about how my car wouldn’t start and I needed to get to work right away.

“You mentioned that,” he said, gently. He assured me his driver would be right there. I think he even called me ma’am.

It was to be my first lesson on patience that day. I waited. And then I waited some more.

Finally, after what seemed like a million years had gone by he showed up. By this time I was very grouchy, had drank all the coffee in my travel mug and almost paced enough steps to be considered moderately active although I had not gone near the gym.

My car still wouldn’t start.

The day progressed on greased wheels of misfortune, or so it seemed.

I finally found the keys to my husband’s truck, figured how to move the seat ahead so I could reach the gas pedal, and drove it to work. I drove rather quickly as I was really very late by this time. I tried to explain to the cop who stopped me for speeding about my day and how it had progressed on greased wheels of misfortune. I punctuated my explanation with a few tears.

“License, insurance and registration, please, ma’am,” he said, displaying zero sympathy and a speeding ticket almost simultaneously.

I thought my day of misfortune was over then, but I was wrong. The truck wouldn’t start when my workday ended and I was ready to go home. The tow truck driver, a kindly man, who seemed to know about my really bad day without me telling him, didn’t even charge me. And with that simple act of kindness, he brought the little happy face icon I had put in my mind that morning back into focus.

It is amazing how one little act of kindness can change someone’s day for the better.

I know it did mine!

Treena Mielke lives in Sylvan Lake and is the editor of the Rimbey Review.

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