Friday, November 25, 2016

McArdle on the kindness of strangers

"...Four years ago we had a ghostly encounter in the parking lot of a rundown motor inn in Memphis, where I, in a rush to get to a very early morning interview, accidentally backed into that person’s car at low speed. It was still dark in the parking lot, so I heard the crunch before I pulled forward and saw that the bumper was hanging half-off the back of the car.
I was in agony as I stepped out of my own car and began writing a note. For one thing, I was already late, and stopping to leave my information was going to make me really late. For another, because I was on book leave from my day job and running low on funds, I was going to have to submit this indisputably-my-fault incident to my insurance company, and accept the resulting increase in my insurance rates. I spent all day waiting for my phone to ring, and wondering just how badly this was going to wound my family’s already parlous finances.
My phone never rang. And when I returned to the parking lot late that afternoon, I saw what I hadn’t seen in the dark that morning: The car was ancient, and much dented, and the bumper, still hanging half-off, was plastered with well-worn duct tape to cover some of the damage and secure it to the car. I hadn’t damaged it when I’d backed into it at low speed; that bumper had already been semi-detached.
I know almost nothing about the owner of that car except that they had Southern plates, and a military uniform in the back, and that they were staying at that dodgy motel, which means that they, like me, were pinching every penny until Lincoln squealed. They could have been male or female, black or white, a Trump voter or a Clinton volunteer. But I do know one thing: Offered an opportunity to have a stranger fix their car for free, when it looked as if they could really use that help, they crumpled up the blank check I’d written and tossed it in the nearest trashcan.
There is certainly meanness in our country, but there is a lot of goodness, too, even when it comes hard. This Thanksgiving, I’m counting all the blessings my fellow Americans have heaped upon me, and the millions of similar gifts that have been bestowed upon other Americans -- by strangers, without thanks or fanfare or anything except the satisfaction of giving one’s best.
This is America. These are Americans. And I am grateful for every one."

21 comments:

edutcher said...

Good story, one we should all keep in mind.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Yesterday, at Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law made a snide remark about the insistent leftist pontificating that we can expect to be subjected to this Christmas from our 23 year-old nephew. (He did volunteer work for the Bernie Sanders campaign.)

I did not take the bait. I did not accept my brother-in-law's implicit offer. I will not gang up on my nephew.

What I said was this: "He's a smart guy, well-informed and he cares about politics. His problem isn't his point of view, it's his timing. I intend to offer to him the opportunity to tell me what he thinks about the world, man to man, and I intend to listen."

Then I changed the subject.

Trooper York said...

This is that fake news that all the kids are talking about.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

But what if it's fake news that people are talking about?

deborah said...

Down with fake anecdoting...it blows!

Well done, Bat. I was talking to a twenty-something male who didn't vote. He said (paraphrase) it was gratifying to watch the libs he know have their minds blown by the Trump victory.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Thank you, Deborah.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

He said (paraphrase) it was gratifying to watch the libs he know have their minds blown by the Trump victory.

I see no worth in taking pleasure in seeing others disappointed.

It costs nothing to be generous in spirit.

I hope it's a phase he's going through and I hope he grows out of it.

Trooper York said...

Sorry for the duplication. Problems posting on a phone.

ndspinelli said...

Eric, Great philosophy.

ndspinelli said...

I am a glass half full guy and love this story. But, being an investigator I instinctively look @ life situations from different angles. The person driving the beater could have just lost the phone #. Sorry.

deborah said...

You are correct, Eric, but he is young. Still for all of us here who experienced schadenboner...well, we'e only human. But I don't believe in rubbing it in.

deborah said...

Which certainly this young man did not.

Trooper York said...

The telling detail that makes this story bullshit is the uniform in the back seat. Too much detail. It is just nonsense.

AllenS said...

The car was probably stolen from a service member, thus producing the outcome.

Sixty Grit said...

Didn't Ms. McArdle vote for Obama twice? She is dead to me.

deborah said...

McArdle is a straight shooter, and I appreciate that.

AJ Lynch said...

What Sixty said.

I posted a comment once on Insty and called her Pollyanna McGullible and my comment was reported as being mean or something.

deborah said...

Okay, I am not going to defend her second Obama vote other than to say, and she said it on bloggingheads (ducks), she was terrified of McCain...many were. I loved him and voted for him, but I had a different take.

Trooper York said...

I agree she should be shot.