About a week ago, I was having an insanely bad day.
I had a bad/long (15 hour) day at work.
I was angry at a loved one for something they did.
I was wet and hungry.
It was raining/snowing/cold outside.
And I had locked myself out of my apartment.In normal circumstances, this would simply mean you call the super and they open your door for you. At my building they do just that, but ONLY if you have $15 IN CASH. No checks, credit or adding it to your rent. I had $7. And all the 4 ATMs in the vicinity were either unavailable (locked in buildings) or not working.
I called the maintenance people and pleaded with them. I told them I would give them double the next day. I reminded them that they knew where I lived. I appealed to their humanity, their sense of good-neighbourliness, their African kinship and duty. To NO avail. Towards the end of my third conversation with them, I was in tears begging them to open my door. I would have promised them my firstborn child, quite honestly.
To be fair, these people were just doing their jobs. I recognize that. But it makes me sad when people can’t see genuine distress and help. Or recognize a sincere person when they come across them.
I was in a very public lobby, sobbing into the phone that I had $7 and would pay them more the next day when some kind stranger came up to me, out of the blue, and left $8 on the counter next to me, saying, “You have the money now, you have the $15 you need. Tell them to open your door.”
He then walked away before I got off the phone with the maintenance guy, before I could thank him for his kindness, his generosity, his knight-in-shining-armor-ness.
What struck me about this was that
a. he didn’t wait to be either thanked or repaid but even more
b. it was a relatively big sum to just give away to a stanger. It wasn’t 1 or 2 dollars. It wasn’t change. It was a movie ticket, or lunch, or 2-3 lattes.
At the time I didn’t know why, but this strangers generosity made me cry even harder. Looking back at it, I just realized that I wished more people (friends and family) were as understanding and kind about finances as this random stranger was.
It would make the world a better place.