Help from a stranger

I wrote about a month ago about a parking ticket that really pissed me off. In fact, I had gotten two parking tickets within two days. It was like fate was kicking me in the face.

Today, I had a completely opposite experience.

I was pushing a cart of TV equipment from my house in Old Ottawa South to a building on the Carleton campus. I was cutting through Brewer Park, between Cameron Avenue and Bronson Avenue. There’s a path through the park that gets plowed – but the path was covered still in a solid layer of ice several centimetres thick almost the whole way. And in the above-zero, rainy weather we’ve had the past few days, that ice had become quite slushy.

The TV equipment is big and heavy – camera, tripod, lights. It fits nicely onto a little push-cart, but it’s not exactly built to be a snowmobile.

I would trundle along for maybe 50 metres, then get stuck, and ram the cart forward in little jolts, until it got free from the slush.

I could hear footsteps coming up behind me, and I felt a bit embarrassed at my situation – dragging what basically looks like a big trolley of luggage through slush. I tried to go as quickly as possible, hoping that I wouldn’t be overtaken – but knowing at the same time that I would be.

As I got stuck one more time, the footsteps caught up to me – and then suddenly the smiling face of a young man with shaggy hair and a bit of a goatee appeared next to me. He asked me if I wanted help carrying the cart across the path.

“Yes” I said to the offer of help – but “What do you mean, carrying it?”

With that, he picked up the front end of the cart – the heavier end – and we carried it together to Bronson Avenue.

Kindness like that is so unusual. I’m so grateful.

It wasn’t that hard for Patrick (that’s his name) to do – not to understate how much the heavy cart probably strained his muscles – but I probably wouldn’t even think to make such an offer, out of shyness and fear of being too forward.

It made all the difference, just to get that bit of help from a complete stranger.

Turns out Patrick is a fourth year engineering student.

One funny moment in our conversation, when we were talking about what we were studying: he said to me, “You must be almost done, eh?” I don’t look like an undergraduate anymore…

But thanks Patrick.

And I hope to do my own kind acts.

On a completely unrelated note: Monday night, walking that same route home from Carleton, I noticed how pretty the treacherous ice can be:


One thought on “Help from a stranger

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