A #bekindr story about the lessons we can learn from kind strangers, submitted by relationships specialist, journalist, and author Dr. Wendy Walsh (and be sure to check out her site!).
I was a young woman in my 20s having just returned from a long overseas flight through Greece and Israel. On the flight back from Israel, I became very very sick. Who knows why? When I travel I eat everything. Street food and restaurant food alike. I drink any water. I am fearless. But now I was paying the price. I honestly thought I would die on that long flight from Tel Aviv to New York, en route to Los Angeles. It was intestinal (both ends) and a massive headache. I could barely stand I was so dizzy. The flight attendants basically ignored me and told me they legally couldn’t give me even an Aspirin.
When I landed at JFK airport I somehow managed to crawl to my gate and saw that there was a very long line up to check in for seats. I couldn’t do it. I simply couldn’t stand long enough to get my ticket. And without a boarding pass, I wouldn’t get on that flight.
I sat down in a chair and put my head in my lap, asking myself what would I do in a strange city with no friends. How would I get back to Los Angeles? Who would take care of me at that moment? And then an angel touched my shoulder.
A woman who looked to be in her 60s was traveling with her husband. She had been watching me. She came over and said “Honey, are you OK?” I told her how sick I was, that I needed a boarding pass, and that I was too sick to wait in the line. She said, “Don’t worry about a thing dear. My husband will wait in line for you, let me go get you some aspirin and some water. I’ll take care of you until you get on your flight.” And she did. I got on that flight with medicine and water, and a kind stranger mother was there to take care of me.
Never saw her again. But In the 25 years since, I have used her as my model whenever I see someone sick person in public. There was the girl who I found vomiting in the locker room after a step class. The woman jogger who I saw roll her ankle, and I stopped my car to drive her home. And the young woman holding her ear at the pharmacy in excruciating pain. Yes, I got to wait in line for her. Because that angel taught me how.