Helping Hands

This evening as I walked to my car I notice a car parked diagonally on the street while all the others were parallel parked. I thought to myself that the driver must not be very experienced since he couldn’t park like the others. There isn’t that much snow on the ground. So I get to my car, brush it off, and climb in. I eagerly did some back and forth moves to maneuver the car out of the space. Well, somehow I lodge the back corner into the snowbank against the sidewalk. So I grabbed the shovel, cleared out around the tires, cleared a path to the street, and gave it a go. Didn’t budge an inch. I repeated this a few times with absolutely no luck. I’ve gotten so used to weather here being cold enough for traction that I got careless and now I was stuck in half frozen slush spinning my wheels. Now who was Mr. Inexperience.

So a young guy walks over asks if I need some help. Now, I grew up in the city and learned to always be weary of people who come up to you. Especially unsolicited. Yes, I grew up helping push other people out around the neighborhood, but that openness to strangers eroded over the years. I couldn’t tell you whether it was my advancing in age or a change in the society around me. A part of me also wondered whether he was offering in order to get a quick buck. So I tentatively gave it another go with the shovel and the engine, but no movement as the guy stood there patiently. He then asked if I would like him to try pushing. I figured why not. We give it a couple goes again with no luck. And he was working quite a bit and breathing pretty hard. So another guy comes up and also offers. After three goes, it inched onto the street. I immediately stopped the car, jumped out, and thanked them. It has been a while since I had seen strangers earnestly give that kind of assistance.

The point of my story is that I continually get surprised at the generosity of the people here in Montreal. The openness that I see from people I am meeting for the first time really has taken me aback. I know there are exceptions, but the population as a whole shows a warmth that I had not seen in many years.

1 Comment so far

  1. monkey (unregistered) on January 30th, 2006 @ 11:15 am

    Thanks for posting that story! i only rarely see a stuck car on the street, but when i do i always hesitate a moment before i do offer my help because i feel the person will say no simply because she doesn’t know me. However, people did always sincerely thank me afterwards, but your post confirms the stucked-car-driver-fears-strangers-but-finally-really-appreciates-the-push factor.

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