The kindness of strangers and my undying gratitude.

We had big storms here last week and the State Emergency Services have been endlessly busy.

The SES big truck was called to my house once. It was my very first returning- to- work half- day after long months of absence with CFS. A big day.

Bear the cat, at home and comfy.

Maybe Bear isn’t looking all that chastened.

I drove into my carport and could hear a cat in distress. Bear had jumped onto the hot water tank in the corner, miscalculated and fallen head first down the small space between the tank and the wall. Too small for him to right himself, there he was, wedged head first, back legs in the air, crying. I could just reach him but not well enough to get a hold. I started crying…and panicking.

Help!

Help!

What does a woman do in such a moment but call 000? Yes, I was assured, someone would help. In the meantime I phoned back, sobbing, to my workplace. Long ago I had taught  two of the women who worked in the front office. I have presumed a lot on this association. One of them answered and was her usual commonsensical self. She would phone the father of one of our school families who lived in my small hamlet. ( This was neither the first nor the last time that this wonderful group of women would care for my sobbing self.)

The father was contacted, arrived with his family, then with that brisk practical sense of country people he set about undoing the tank, emptying the hot water and  freeing one distraught and muddy cat. His very sweet wife dealt with one  extremely distressed and grateful woman while the children offered pats on the back and sympathy. (I have quite a special relationship with those children now.)

Emergency services to the rescue!

Emergency services to the rescue!

It was then the Emergency Services pulled up, a big truck with all the bells and whistles,  to find one sobbing woman, a chastened, and dishevelled cat, a hot water service being re-assembled and the family of my rescuer standing about making kind noises. These busy people were understanding about a wasted trip and my small hamlet enjoyed the spectacle.

Bear the cat insisted on several lottery tickets being given to his rescuer (I don’t think he even liked cats!) and he continued to send him Christmas cards. Nowadays I have a special bond with his wife and children. The time Bear was caught behind the water tank became a favourite story in their classes. Children enjoy seeing their teachers displaying less than their usual competence. It makes us more human.

Once again I was offered the opportunity to accept generosity and kindness with humility and great gratitude. These people expected nothing back and were happy to help.

I’m a slow learner. I keep learning the same lesson- that I can ask for help. A mentor once told me to reach out- isn’t that asking for help? I look back and can see so many times when I didn’t know I could even ask. What a difference there could have been!

And it’s a memory in my collection of stories when I have been cared for, unexpectedly. The stories I take out when the world seems a little bleak . The stories I keep in my gratitude book.  A large collection and a large book.

What are your stories? What are you grateful for? Can you ask for help?

4 thoughts on “The kindness of strangers and my undying gratitude.

  1. ’till recently, I’ve found it difficult to take the scriptural phrase,”Ask and you shall receive” seriously yet when one has no other resort (and that’s typical of me) one has to put one’s trust in Jesus (which is a bit of a back-handed compliment)…however , lately (I’ve resigned from full-time work…I’m out of teaching…may try Chaplaincy for the foreseeable future) I’m tending to put much more faith/trust in the Lord (his patience overwhelms me-his generosity always overwhelms me)…he always sends someone into my life when I’m in need…Love…Bernie.

  2. So wonderful to read about the kindness of strangers given to you and Bear. My favorite stories of such kindness are about people catching me in the midst of falling or picking me up after a fall. As I grow into my elder years I find I am learning to ask as well as being surprised by kindness. It is such a great way to connect with and trust the world around me.

  3. I’m glad you are helped when you fall. Asking for help gives someone the chance to be kind. But I also love practising “random acts of kindness”- letting someone in front of me at the supermarket queue if they need, wheeling a trolley, even a smile sometimes. It takes so little to be kind and can change my day when I choose to practise it.

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