I read “In gratitude for simple acts of kindness” (My Turn, July 21) and it reminded me of an act of kindness I have never forgotten. There is a young man who I’ve always wanted to thank but haven’t been able to because I don’t have his name, address or contact information of any kind.
I met him one day when I was stopped at a stop sign on Route 110 and an out-of-control car hit us full-force from behind. My mother was in the passenger seat, and I was in the driver’s seat. (This happened in 1995 or ’96; it’s funny I don't remember the year, but I remember everything that happened that day.) I was thrown backward, then the seat broke, and I was thrown forward and my legs inexplicably ended up on the dashboard. My mom was injured seriously and was unconscious.
It seems that everything occurred in slow motion: I recall seeing pieces of glass from the windshield falling slowly around me. When a woman came to the open driver’s side window, and saw me and my mother, she ran away screaming.
Immediately afterward, a young man who appeared to be an office worker poked his head into the driver’s side window. He was wearing a white business shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He said, "Don't worry help is on the way; I will stay here until they come."
He observed my mother's condition, told me the time and said, "When they ask you how long your mother was unconscious you remember the time and you can tell them."
He stayed with us for what seemed like a long time — but it may have been just five or 10 minutes until emergency medical service arrived. I cannot explain how comforted I was by him just being there for me. He made me focus, and he was calm. As the EMS team were planning how to get us out of the car, I looked for this angel but he was gone.
I have always wanted him to know what impact his kind act had on me. I also wanted him to know that although my mother was badly injured — and 90 years old at the time of the accident — she recovered and lived another nine happy years.
In the years since, I have encountered people in need or in an accident. Although sometimes I want to turn away, I think of this Good Samaritan and have always stopped to do what I can.
The man who stopped to help me and my mom could not possibly know what his kindness meant or how it affected my life. If he — or anyone else — reading this thinks their kindness has been but a small thing, know this: No kindness is small and some kindnesses last a lifetime.
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