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In Praise of Strangers
MrToad
Posted: Monday, August 14, 2017 6:05 PM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444


Dear wife and I can still take various outings that are  good experiences for her and not too stressful for me. Recently a series of strangers have helped make some outings not only more pleasant, but even an affirmation of the basic goodness of so many people. At a time when we are all exposed to far more than our Recommended Daily Allowance of hatred and nastiness, these incidents are worth noting—

Went to the theatre the other day. As I guided DW up the front steps, slowly, telling her there was no hurry, a gentleman far ahead of us made a point of holding open the door for us. Though I smilingly waved him off, not wanting him to have to wait so long, he just smiled back and kept holding the door. When we finally got to the door and passed him, and I thanked him, he whispered to me, “I’ve been there, done that. You’re doing great.”  Later, at intermission, as I guided DW toward the restrooms, a lady came up on my far side and asked me quietly if I’d like her to help DW in the restroom. Oh my. These incidents still bring a tear to my eye as I write this. DW and I recently moved to this small town from the World Capital of Self-Importance (Washington DC), so I am really not used to spontaneous outbreaks of Human Niceness.   

The other day, we were on a long trip and stopped at a turnpike service plaza. I urgently needed to use the men’s room.  I asked DW to “wait right here” outside the entrance. A middle-aged gent emerging from the men’s quickly assessed the situation and said, “I’ll be happy to stay here a moment”. By the time I came back out, DW was happily engaged in a conversation with the Good Samaritan, while Good Samaritan’s wife, emerging from the Ladies’, was closing in with a skeptical look. But that quickly dissipated as she got closer and understood that her husband had done a good deed, one for which I thanked him and remain grateful.  At the next stop on the trip, I again asked DW to wait in place. Out of the corner of my eye I noted a somewhat grizzled, leathers-clad biker-type, more ink than skin showing. Looked 65, maybe he was 40. Anyway, a very brief nod was exchanged. Sure enough, by the time I emerged from the Men’s, DW had started to wander off, but she was under the watchful eye of Biker Dude and he silently pointed me to her. “Thanks” I said as I passed him. “These places” he said, “all have Family Restrooms that you might want to use.” “Oh. Okay, thanks for that too.”  

The trip was to visit my sister, and visit went perfectly, smiles all around, until a new glitch popped up as we left for home. We’d been in a fourth floor apartment, so we had to go down in the elevator. In earlier days DW had shown a slight reluctance to ride an elevator; this had been overcome by assurance and hand holding. Suddenly, it turned into an adamant refusal to enter the elevator.  Negotiating four flights of dark stairs was not an option. I spent about ten minutes trying to persuade. DW parked herself in an easy chair in the hallway and would not budge. A neighbor (whom we’d never set eyes on) appeared, on her way down to the lobby and asked if we had a problem. “A little anxiety” I said. “Sure, I understand" she said. "I’d be happy to help. Can I ride downstairs with you?” Together we persuaded DW to get up and take tiny steps toward the elevator. Neighbor was very sweet and patient, but DW was still refusing. So neighbor waited with DW while I went back down the hall to fetch my sister. With her help, we all managed to finesse DW onto the elevator. Many thanks, neighbor. After that the trip home was uneventful, but the glow of the unsolicited kindness of multiple strangers was with me the whole time, and still is.

Sure, there are plenty of hate-filled wackos out there, and too many basically good people who have overdosed on resentment and intolerance, but I take heart at these multiple manifestations of human decency. In one sense this is nothing new, (even our term “Good Samaritan” is based on a Bible-era story). But I’d like to believe that there is also some greater public awareness these days of Dementia. Just as Cancer was once the disease that was never named, Dementia has also more recently emerged from the shadows. It is tragic, but not shameful. It is a mysterious disease, but not a failure of character. More people seem to be more tolerant of AD victims and their behaviors and limitations. Just in time, too. Unless we find a cure, we Boomers are going to generate an AD surge in the years ahead. DW and I, born in the late ‘40s , are the leading edge of the Boomer retirement surge, which in due course will also lead to an increase in AD unless, let us pray, there is a medical breakthrough.

So here’s a Thank You to all the strangers out there who will lend a hand, who will render a kindness in the months and years ahead to my Dear Wife and I and to all the other AD victims and caregivers who can use all the help we can get. Thank you fellow humans.   

 

 

 


chrisp1653
Posted: Monday, August 14, 2017 6:35 PM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1286


Mr. Toad, I believe you are right about the greater awareness, but I think that it covers more than just dementia. Our world is filled with the people everyone used to call " different . " Today, most of us understand that they are just another part of us. I hope this means that we are all learning humanity is a bigger word than was once thought.  Your experiences are terrific, and important for everyone to hear. If enough individuals keep making a difference in a small way, we might live to see the day when small is big.

Blessings to you and your sweet wife,

 

Chris


MPSunshine
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:23 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2007


Mr. Toad, You captured it. Well done, Mr. Toad. Blessings.
Jim Broede
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:41 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Yes, there are reasons to have faith in humanity. Sometimes I forget. But only for a moment. --Jim
BlueSkies
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:31 AM
Joined: 2/24/2016
Posts: 1096


Mr toad, thanks for sharing this.  We see so many bad things on the news and everywhere, it's nice to see that good still is happening all around us.  It's just unfortunate that the bad gets more coverage.  

Every little act of kindness has it's impact and makes a difference in the world.  I, like Chris am hoping we see more of them.  And yes, as Mr toad said, thank you to all the kind and caring people out there.  You are appreciated!


llee08032
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 9:24 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


One small act of kindness can mean the world when your in need. I believe that God puts us in the paths of others needing help and that He puts the right people in our paths just as well, when we need help. 

I believe in keeping my acts of kindness a secret between God and I and that if you tell someone it doesn't mean as much as when you keep it a secret. So try to understand that it is with trepidation that I share this but what it meant to me was meaningful at the time.

Only a few months ago, the afternoon started with my co-worker and I on our way to a meeting when we spotted this beautiful Golden dog right out in the middle of the road. I stopped the car put flashers on and went knocking on doors until we found the owner of the dog and safely returned him/her home.

On that same evening when driving home I saw a woman standing near the curb and had a bad feeling as I slowly drove past her. I kept my eye's on her and watched shockingly in my rear view mirror as she fell off the curb into traffic! Flashers on again I got out of the car and ended up having to shoo the traffic away from her. The woman turned out to be intoxicated but nevertheless,  I was angry at the cars who drove around us not stopping to help me get the woman out of the street. After about 5 minutes a young man seemed to appear from nowhere from across the street and helped me lift the woman and get her home. 

I then restarted my trek home. Only about 15 or so minutes later I turn a curve in the road and see a car with the lights on stuck in a ditch on the side of road. I pull over and walk over to the car and find a frightened elderly couple in the car. The husband tells me they already called for help and they are both okay and not hurt. I asked if I should stay with them or if there was anything else I could do and left.

As I drove home the rest of the way w/o event my beliefs were affirmed that I was supposed to be in the paths of all the people that I helped and tried to help that day and that it wasn't by chance or coincidence that I was there. Even though the couple in the car didn't need help I was there to assure them, treat them kindly and show them that humanity still exists.


Sayra
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:45 PM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 2903


Thank you for sharing Mr Toad.  There are many good people out there including young people.  Things like this help me to remember that.  I never watch tv, rarely read a newspaper.  I would rather cry about the good things people do for one another.  We all need each other.
BlueSkies
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 9:18 PM
Joined: 2/24/2016
Posts: 1096


Llee, 

love your adventurest day!  Before I had to quit driving, I use to do things like that regularly.  My first husband hated it.  I was always bringing home strays and wanting to help strangers.  I always found the strays their home or if I couldn't, I would find them a new home.  Thank goodness my DH today is an animal lover and good Samaritan.  I hardly ever have to say anything.  He is usually already helping before I can open my mouth.  I love it.  Makes life so much easier when we are on the same page.

I think it's wonderful you are so helpful llee, but please do be careful.  Not everyone's intentions are good, unfortunately.

Thanks for sharing...warmed my heart.


ladyzetta
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 9:54 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1319


I am so thankful for all the helpful people out there. I took my DH who is in MC to his Doctor for his check up a few days ago. I was having trouble getting him from his wheelchair into my car after we left the Doctors office, all of a sudden two people (strangers) were on both sides lifting him into my car. MC puts him in and takes him out I usually have no problem at the Doctors office but this one time I did and I was so thankful for those 2 strangers.

Llee you are a very sweet person to be so helpful, but I agree with what Blue Skies said please be careful. I live in a small town and I picked up a hitch hiker. But I saw this man many times walking to town, so I finally figured out he was a safe person. I was right he lives about 2 blocks from me, so when I see him going to town I always stop, but it took me a few months to feel safe.  Hugs to All Zetta


MPSunshine
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:36 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2007


Come to think of it, persons on this website have helped me without knowing who I was and receiving nothing in return, just sheer generosity and heart demonstrated by folks in a common boat.
llee08032
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 8:04 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


We never know the impact of a smile or kind word to someone who is hurting or alone in this world. My good woman friend told me how she sat at the hospital bed of a dying man where she worked. He and she were talking and she reached out and touched his hand which brought him to tears. She quickly apologized for touching him and he told her she did no wrong. That it was just that it had been many years since someone had touched him. This story stuck with me and I hope I never forget it.

This brings to mind another story about and old neighbor of mine who worked in animal control. They were called to a home to capture this sick cat. When my neighbor asked the woman if the cat bit or scratched the woman replied "I don't know. I never touched it."

Go figure...


llee08032
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 8:15 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Dear Mr Toad,

My cognitive impairment impacts my vision and I am having a terrible time trying to read your great post because the font appears very small to me. Although I seem to have grasped the gist of what you wrote it hurts my eye's. I am posting this for selfish reasons but it is also good for everyone to think about and be aware of how dementia can impact vision. Please safeguard your homes to accommodate vision loss and changes for PWD. Thank you for reading.


chrisp1653
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:09 PM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1286


llee, if your pc has a mouse with a scroll wheel, just hold down the CNTL key and use the scroll wheel to make the text get bigger or smaller as needed.

 

Chris



Eileen72
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:58 PM
Joined: 6/10/2017
Posts: 312


Dear Llee,

Would  it help if we type in bold?  I notice you post in bold.  Such a small accommodation for a special person.

Off on my bike to see generous farmer Kathleen...she was so surprised with the bread.  I truly believe the giver needs a receiver to accomplish the gift of sharing.  

Fondly, Eileen


chrisp1653
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:43 PM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1286


Eileen, is that why love is so often represented by a circle ? Or how about the phrase, " coming full circle ? " 

 

Chris


MPSunshine
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 4:24 PM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2007


From now on

With a smile on,

I’m posting in bold,

Because you told,

That it makes it a little easier,

And we all want more readers,

So I will heed ya!

 


Angel_Wolf
Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 3:49 AM
Joined: 7/8/2017
Posts: 143


Wow!  Great tip!  Solving problem I didn't even know I had!
llee08032
Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 6:39 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Yes...bold is good. Love the poem Chris!
Sayra
Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 12:09 PM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 2903


I actually can read bolder print better too.  I also figured out how to do it. Maybe one day I will learn to muse too.