27 March 2020

Helping Each Other

An anecdote, with Mr. Rogers' “look for the helpers” quote in mind:

I flew into JFK from my painful Dubai departure yesterday afternoon. Numbly, I went through security and the necessary CDC check, claimed my bag and the bag of my absent spouse, and walked toward the taxi stand. Someone offered me a cab ride along the way, giving his price, but I knew I wouldn't be able to pay for it. I turned him down and trudged to the stand where the yellow cabs were. I didn't have enough money to take any cab, really, but I could put it on a credit card and worry about it next month. Anything to get into my bed and sleep for a bit and avoid the outbreak. I was put into a cab and we set off for the Bronx. Just outside the airport, the cabbie drove over a pothole and popped his front left tire. We crawled to the shoulder and he got out to look. I noticed he had trouble getting out, something with his back. I thought for a second about what to do... Should I call for another cab somehow? Would they pick me up on the side of the Van Wyck? But I was in no rush, and I could tell this guy needed a hand. He couldn't get a hold of anyone to come help him. He asked if I could help. I joked that he was lucky, I was one of the few New Yorkers who knew how to change a tire. I quickly found his spare and the jack, loosened the lug nuts, raised the car, switched the tires, and tightened everything up. By the time the cabbie got a hold of someone to come help, I was done. “It's okay,” he said into his phone. I was his gift from God.

And truly, it was all a gift from God. I got back home without being charged cab fare. And despite all the bad that happened to me over the last few days, there are these glimmers of hope. I am reaching out into the universe for so much help right now. But, I can be a help to someone else, too. I am also a helper.

So, sure, look for the helpers when you need help. But if you can, if you are able, be one of the helpers yourself.

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