|photo by abf via|
When he saw my car, he didn’t know I was having an eventful morning, that I had already iced two cakes and still, my daughter wouldn’t eat her breakfast because, among other things, there was a white mink in the mousetrap. He didn’t know I was hosting three authors for dessert and that after dropping my daughter off at school I was headed to pick up one of those authors at the airport. And he certainly didn’t know that when we finally got into the car and out the driveway that my neighbor was having a crisis of her own, the whole series of events making us terribly late.
Even though I had never met my neighbor, I stopped to ask if she needed help dragging her huge bag of garbage to the end of the road.
“No, no,” she said, almost breathless. “But there is something else you can help me with. Could you call a locksmith? I’m locked out.”
“A locksmith?” I had no idea where a locksmith might be in my new little New England town and the thought of leaving her outside in her bathrobe, boots and parka in sub zero snowy weather left me almost speechless. “Sure. I’ll find you a locksmith. But are you sure I can’t do anything else for you? What if you wait in my house to stay warm?”
“No, no. I’m fine,” her face looking half frozen. “Just a locksmith.”
“You sure? Just a locksmith?”
“I’m sure. Just a locksmith,” her teeth now chattering as her flannel nightgown fluttered in the breeze.
So I drove off blinking hard, wondering if I was really living my day, not just making it all up.
He didn’t know any of this as I sped by. And how could he—an innocent police officer enjoying his uneventful morning until mine collided to contradict his.
As soon as I saw his lights, I pulled off to the side of the road, grateful that I had already made the appropriate calls for my neighbor.
“Hello, Officer. I’m so sorry. You wouldn’t believe my morning ...”
“I’m sure I wouldn’t.” He was formal and well spoken, a true police officer with confidence and command. And he didn’t seem to budge under my gentle emotional distress. “Do you know you were going 40 in a 25?”
I gulped. I didn’t. But I wasn’t about to argue. Instead, I apologized and begged for a warning, telling him at a pace equivalent to speed dial how new I was to the community and hoping the story of my white mink, or my neighbor freezing outside in distress, or the icing of my two cakes or even my trip to the airport after dropping my daughter off at school … some of it, any of it, might help. And I swear that when I did, his eyebrows rose.
I gave him my insurance and registration cards, and waited. And waited. And waited. And soon, just as I was sure my daughter would miss her entire morning at school and I would miss picking Charles up on time, he got out of his car and headed for mine.
“Please watch your speed in town, Ms. Betz. And tell your daughter’s teacher I made you late.”
“Oh thank you, Officer, thank you so much. As for telling the teacher, though, no way! I can’t tell her that,” I said with an overflowing smile. “I have to preserve my upstanding reputation and a run-in with the law would never do.”
He handed me my paperwork.
“You know … Paul,” I found his name tag, “I want you to know that I write about the little things that make life magic and your gift of kindness today won’t end with me. I’ll be passing it on. Promise.”
“Wait, wait,” he said, giving me a double take, “you write about the little things that make life magic?”
“Uh huh,” my eyes now sparkling.
“You really do?” he asked again.
I nodded. Like a golden retriever. “I do!”
“Well, isn’t that amazing,” he said shaking his head with a smile.
“It is?” I asked.
“It is! Because guess what? I do, too! Now if that isn’t a beautiful gift from the universe, I don’t know what is!”
And right then and there, we both started to laugh. I shed my stress, he shed his title and for a few beautiful moments, Officer Paul and I were just souls on a journey sopping up our serendipitous connection.
“I’m probably going to have to write about this.” I yelled out to him as he made his way back to his car.
“I was about to say the same thing to you, too, Brynne,” he yelled back with a big delightful grin.
And then we laughed some more. In our own cars. Mine with a new peace, crawling the speed limit back to my neighbor, to insist on warming her up. His driving off with a lighter feel … yep, that magical feel the universe shares every time you heed its call. And I think it’s safe to assume that we both drove away happy, happy that we had made a new friend.
* * *
Pass it on. Pass on the kindness in your heart even when it isn’t appropriate or the rules say otherwise. Do it because it is right in your heart, right in your soul, right in that place that believes in magic and the goodness of people.