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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kindness Really Does Happen

Yesterday Erachet and I were the recipients of a truly overwhelming act of kindness, an example of the Jewish community at its best.

As new Heights-dwellers, we set out yesterday on our first expedition to the nearby Target (easily accessible by subway!) in search of apartment essentials and cereal at a decent price. Once in the store, of course, we discovered that we 'needed' a lot more than we previously thought we did. Erachet and I currently share a not-so-large room, and we're still figuring out how to maximize our space, so I was excited to find a piece of furniture on sale that looked like it would suit our needs. However, the box itself was too heavy to lift, and certainly not transportable by subway. I asked a Target employee about delivery, but it isn't a service they offer (and I ask: whyever not? This is New York City, people! You know we don't have cars!). The employee suggested that I order the item online, but acknowledged that in-store sales often don't apply to online orders. I racked my brain for friends with cars, and though I have a few, I didn't feel it would be appropriate or considerate to ask them for that kind of favour. Frustrated, I declared emphatically, "I wish we had a car!"

"Do you need a ride somewhere?" A young frum woman pushing her cart down the aisle had overheard my comment.

Surprised, I responded, "Well...um, yes, actually. We came by subway, but this piece of furniture is too heavy to carry."

"Where do you live?"

"The Heights." I told her our address.

"I can take you. I have a minivan, and I have some free time now."

Erachet and I were almost too overwhelmed to speak. When she initially offered the ride, I assumed that, like us, she lived in the Heights--but I soon found out that, in actuality, she lives in Riverdale, so the stop was completely inconvenient. Not only did this woman--an intelligent, accomplished mother of three children under five years old--offer a ride to two girls whom she had never met before, but she went far out of her way to do so, gladly taking time out of her busy schedule to help total strangers.

In the car (during stop and go traffic--for which she apologized to us, of all things), we chatted and played the obligatory game of Jewish geography. Passing a homeless man on the side of the road, our benefactress took out her wallet, rolled down her window, and dropped a bill into his cup. Clearly, we had stumbled upon someone who makes chesed her highest priority.

As we neared our destination, she exclaimed, "Oh! Do you want anything to eat? I'm sorry I didn't offer!" I was practically dumbstruck, and laughed as I thankfully declined. It wasn't enough for her to do us the favour of driving us to our apartment, but she also had to welcome us into her van as if it were her home.

As she dropped us off right in front of our building and even helped us carry our things to the door, all I could think was: wow.

So LL, thank you so much--you are an unbelievable baalas chesed, and truly inspiring. You made our day!

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