Thursday, February 19, 2015

Relying on the kindness of strangers (suomeksi kts. Löytäjä pitää)

Several years ago we were visiting my in-laws in Lubbock, Texas. It is so refreshing to change the scenery, and I do love my family in Texas.

One Saturday morning I went out for a walk with one of the girls. We were just coming around a corner when there was a house with a large garage sale. Clothing, shoes etc. were spread in the front yard and my daughter and I stopped to browse. She immediately found many wonderful things to buy, but I did not have my purse, since I had just gone for a walk.

We decided to go back home to get some money and come back, since the seller said they would be open till five in the afternoon.

When we got back, it was time for the children to go see their cousin play baseball. The girls decided to return to the garage sale after they get back.

As soon as the car pulled up the driveway after the match, two of the girls ran to get their purses and dashed off in a hurry. I let them go, since that was the plan and the garage sale was not far.

After more than two hours the girls returned, one crying bitterly, the other one extremely upset. When they reached me in the bedroom where I was folding up clothes, they began telling me what happened.

They had left in a hurry, not asking for directions, because one of them knew where the garage sale was. They had walked and walked, but had not found it. The day was very hot, they had nothing to drink and they were exhausted. They tried to return home, but did not know how to get home either. Not knowing what to do, they decided to ask for directions of the only person they saw outside in the midday sun. It was a man who was in his front lawn with a pet rabbit.

The girls knew grandma's address and asked if the man could give them directions. He tried to do so, and the girls started walking away, but they heard him call after them. He said he had two bikes they could borrow to get home quicker. He pulled out of his garage two fairly new bikes, a pink and a grey one, and gave them to the girl. They asked him how will they be able to return the bikes and he said they can have somebody drive them back.

The girls had bicycled a long while and still not found their way home so they went into a church to get help. A kind pastor printed out directions on his computer. So they set off again, tired, thirsty and hot, and now also arguing about which way to take.

Finally, they found home. With two bikes from a helpful stranger.

After having had drinks and a bite to eat they tried to tell us everything they knew about the house where they got the bikes. I decided to start walking with the girls and the bikes in the neighborhood to see if we could find the house. After two hours of terrible heat, we returned. We found nothing.

Now their dad and the girls drove around by car looking for the place. When we asked distinctive landmarks they remember from their trip, they said that there was a white car parked across the street from the house where they got the bikes. Not quite the landmark we were hoping for.

We did not find the house, and the bikes remained in grandma's garage. All we could do was to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, thanking the man for his kindness and urging him to contact the paper to get in touch with us.

He read our note in the paper and called my husband, who returned the bikes. When he was asked if he did not wonder why he did not get the bikes back right away he said that he was sure the girls needed to use them during their visit to Lubbock.

1 comment:

  1. I remember this episode in our lives quite well because in many ways it was so traumatic for everyone involved. The girls were so very lost and went in circles and since so many of the houses and cars all look so very similar the girls got even more confused about where they were and where they were trying to get. When the girls finally arrived home with these 2 very expensive-looking bicycles, then it was mom and dad's turn to panic. None of us ultimately had any idea of where these bicycles had come from and how to return them. The only thing left for us to do was to put our trust and hope in the hands of other people who volunteered to help us. Just thinking about all the ink and newspaper and therefore money that went into setting things right really humbles a person.