Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bonds of kindness

A few weeks ago Daniel and I got out of the Fresno heat and headed up to the mountains. We read that for every 1000 feet you gain in elevation, you lose 3 degrees in heat.

With a high of 95, we eagerly tested the theory by heading up to Sequoia National Park. We enjoyed some great heights and hikes. We were dwarfed by gigantic trees. And instead of heading back the way we came, we decided to do the 60 mile drive through Kings Canyon. A very scenic drive.

Some roads were closed for the winter and knowing that, we still proceeded up one particular route. Just as we reached the "road closed" sign and were starting our u-turn, we noticed two parked cars on the side of the road. A woman was huddled near her driver side door managing a stick through a door that was locked but cracked ajar. Instantly we knew what we were looking at. Daniel pulled over. The woman had locked her keys in her car. A kind young man, with limited English skills, was helping guide her movements from the other side of the car. They had been working on the car for what seemed like a long time. 

We asked if we could help. They asked if we had a 'jimmy'. Nope. We did mention we passed a motel about a mile back and decided we'd do something, rather than nothing and head over there to get better tools. The motel was closed, with no sign of life, though there was one dusty parked car. We got out and poked around, thinking maybe we'd still find a good tool to borrow. That didn't turn up anything, except maybe a slight case of the heebie jeebies due to my overactive imagination.

We returned with the bad news and they didn't seem any closer than before when another couple pulled up and got out. They began taking in the scenic vistas, either not realizing the woman's conundrum or maybe not wanting to intrude. I said hello to the couple and asked if they had a 'jimmy' or rod. That's normal, right? The husband examined the situation, said no, but then disappeared. 

A few minutes later he returned with the metal rod from the car jack and the wire from an antenna. All of the sudden it became a community event. One of us held the jack to pry the door as open as it would allow. One of us guided from afar. One of us held our breath and hoped. One of us fidgeted with the rod and "POP", in a matter of minutes it was unlocked. It was such a great feeling. Joy. 

Elated, the woman began giving us all hugs. We all were hugging each other (at least as that's how I remember it.) The woman, who was traveling alone, seemed so thankful. As she left she said, "You've restored my faith in humanity." In a matter of minutes we all returned on our way. 

As Daniel and I were driving home through the winding roads, we talked about how good it felt to help someone in need. It was a community effort and everyone played a small part that resulted in lots of joy in the end. Later, as we made another scenic stop on our route, we ran into the quiet husband and his wife, once more. We smiled, waved, and that sense of joyful satisfaction swept over us again. We were bonded. 
photo credits belong to daniel. 


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