And it didn't come. And then they said it would. And then they said it wouldn't. And then they said it might. And then it didn't.
Let's just say I was not very happy.
So, at the end of this mess, I'm driving home from picking my girls up from a friend's house (who had kept them from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. while I was stuck waiting around for the no-show truck), and I notice the rush-hour traffic slowing down near the light ahead. I'll be turning left, but I see a couple of cars in the "straight" lane swerve into the left turn lane and then back out of it to continue straight. "Either a newbie driving stick shift who stalled, or someone's car's broken down," I think.
As I pull into the turn lane, there's one car ahead of me. The light's green, but traffic is thick from the opposite direction, so I know we won't be going any time soon. Accordingly, I turn my attention to the car causing the trouble.
It's an older, tan sedan, a little ahead and to the right of me. I can't see the driver, because I'm right in his blind spot, but I can see the smoke coming from under the hood. "That'll ruin your day."
Suddenly, the passenger door of the white car in front of me opens, and a man gets out. He looks to be in his early twenties, white t-shirt, jeans, flip-flops, scruffy cheeks, and a long cigarette dangling from his teeth. He comes back and motions for the driver of the other car to open his door. The door opens, and I see the arm of an old man, spotted and wrinkled and thin, gesturing as they talk. The young man nods once, then goes to the back of the car and starts to push. His own ride pulls out of the intersection, leaving space for him to push the tan car into the left-turn lane.
I watch as he slides in his flip-flops, takes them off, and proceeds in bare feet to push the car into the lane in front of me. Seeing a gap in traffic, he bends down to start the car rolling once more, hoping to make it through the intersection, but the ground there is no longer level, and he struggles to get it rolling.
Just then, jumping out of a hastily-parked mini-van on the corner and running across two lanes of traffic, comes a woman, twenties or early thirties, dressed in knee-length hot-pink shorts and an electric blue t-shirt. She smiles a quick greeting and gets ready to push, but the light turns red.
In my rear-view mirror, I see the couple in the truck behind me hop out, the wife running around to the driver's seat, and the man, in a plaid button-up shirt, walking past my van to take a spot beside the neon woman.
And then, last but not least, jogging across the crosswalk from the other side of the intersection comes a soldier in full uniform, who arrives just as the protected-left light comes on. Together these four strangers lean into the car and easily roll it around the corner, laughing as the car picks up speed and they have to stop pushing or fall on their faces. The old man lets his car roll off into the grass, out of the way of traffic, and as I roll past, the young man with the cigarette is going to talk to him once more.
And just like that, all the stress of my day is gone, purged by witnessing this moment of humanity, of strangers reaching out.
Those four people, such a contrast in appearances next to one another, stood together not because they were friends, but because each chose not to say, "Oh, someone will help him," or "I bet he has a cell phone." They simply got out of their own vehicles and did what needed to be done.
It didn't change the world. But I smiled the rest of the way home.
I tend to avoid the news, because it always makes me depressed. I need stories like this to help me keep my faith in my fellow man. What "Good Samaritan" moments have you witnessed lately?