That Good Samaritan Feeling

It snowed quite a bit Monday, going well into the night.  Tuesday morning I got up and instead of taking my early morning walk, I went out to shovel my front steps and sidewalk.

I was out shoveling at about 6 a.m., in the quiet darkness, when a young woman approached.  It probably took some nerve on her part to approach a total stranger on a dark, bitterly cold morning, but she obviously was desperate.  “Excuse me, sir!” she said.  “My car is stuck.  Would you mind coming down and shoveling me out?”

good-samaritanI looked down the street and saw that her car, which was one of those ultra-light compact cars that are about the worst snow vehicles in the world, was turned sideways and was well and truly stuck in the snow piles.  “No problem,” I said.  “When the weather is like this, we’ve all got to stick together.”  So I went down with my shovel, let loose my inner Dad, put her behind the wheel, and shoveled and pushed and rocked the car back and forth and instructed her on cutting the wheels this way and that — not too sharp! — until we finally got her too-light car out of the snow banks and onto the ruts of the street so she could head on her way.

“Thank you soooo much!” she said several times before she puttered away in her little car, and I think she really meant it.  I then went back to my shoveling.

Growing up in Akron, Ohio, I learned that you help people out when they get stuck in the snow.  One time when UJ and I were little kids we went to an Akron Zips basketball game with Grandma and Grandpa Neal, a blizzard hit during the game, and we came out to an Oldsmobile that was covered in snow and buried in a drift.  A bunch of men who also had come to the game came over to help us, and eventually they pushed and pulled and rocked us out to the point where we could get to the street.  Their selfless act of kindness and decency made a big impression on a little kid.

Ever since that happened, I’ll gladly lend a hand to help anybody trapped by the snow.  I know that the Good Samaritan acted for wholly altruistic reasons, and when it comes to the winter weather I do too — but I always like the “Good Samaritan” feeling I get when I do it, too.  That young woman’s heartfelt thanks made my Tuesday a little bit better.

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The Good Samaritan At Port Columbus

Our plane arrived in balmy Columbus on time last night, we hopped onto the shuttle that takes patrons out to the Green Lot — the lot with the cheapest daily rate — and were looking forward to getting back home, seeing an excited Kasey, and vegging out.

After the shuttle dropped us off we walked to our car, commenting on the nice weather, and I pulled out the keys with the automatic door opener, pushed the button, and got . . . nothing.  No short beep, no flash of tail lights . . . nothing.

Ugh.

348sSo with sinking feeling I got into the car by using a key the old-fashioned way, tried the ignition, and the car was totally dead.  And, because married couples always do this, Kish then got into the car, tried the ignition, and got the same result as I beat myself up about apparently leaving some light on or some door ajar, even though I know that I checked twice when we locked the car up.  So we briefly debated about whether to just take a cab home, or call AAA and wait in the parking lot until they showed up.

But, as Kish called AAA, I saw a pick-up truck, with what appeared to be a snow plow on the front, far down our parking row.  Maybe this guy could give me a jump?  As I walked down to his truck, I noticed that he was giving a jump to another car, and my spirits rose.  When he was done, I asked if he could give us a jump, too, and he said sure.

It turns out this jovial fellow worked for Port Columbus and was roaming the parking lots, helping out travelers like us.  He explained that, while we were gone, the temperatures at the airport lots had fallen to around zero overnight, which took its toll on car batteries and the air in tires.  In short, our dead battery wasn’t our fault.  (Hooray!)  And sure enough, as he prepared to help us out, another Green Lot patron sheepishly walked up and asked for a jump, too.

We filled out a form as the Port Columbus Good Samaritan used a little gizmo that fired up our battery and brought our car roaring to life — no need for jumper cables in these modern times, apparently — and we gratefully gave him the last five dollars in our collective wallets, which he initially tried to refuse.  We insisted that he accept it, though, because his presence and helped allowed our vacation to end on a high note.

Thanks to Port Columbus for its foresight in employing the Good Samaritan, and thanks to the Good Samaritan for giving us weary travelers a hand in a time of need.