Good Karma: Car Troubles

Last week, I went into my usual gas station and found one of my favorite employees in the middle of a minor meltdown. She is always so friendly to me, and when you spend as much time alone in the world as I do, it can mean a lot when random strangers are nice to you. This is a lesson I learned from the opposite side when I worked a crap retail job during college. Sometimes it just makes all the difference to people to get an unexpected smile or a laugh, to have a punked out kid hold a door open for you or a fellow shopper offer to return your grocery cart. Sometimes it’s things like that that can get a person through a day, when everything else seems to be falling apart and going all wrong.

Favorite Employee (I think her name is Robin) was blinking back tears because a tire on her car had just gone flat again after multiple attempts at inflation and no luck finding any holes. She couldn’t afford to replace it, but she needed to replace it to be able to get to work. Maybe I was feeling compassionate because of the sucky economy we’re all having to deal with around the holidays. Maybe it’s a connection I feel with the “working poor.” Let’s face it — I probably qualify as that myself. If not, I probably come close, and I’ve definitely been there in my younger days. Even now, I am not the sort of person who has a great deal of disposable income to go throwing around town at people less fortunate, although that would be awesome. But right then, I was thinking about what I would do if I couldn’t get to work — and about how the last time I couldn’t because my car broke down, I had two different friends lend me cars to drive without a second thought. But what if I had no one? Who would help me?

So I bought Robin a new tire.

Fast forward to a few days later. My stupid car is now totally screwed and needs many repairs costing anywhere from $400 to $1,500, depending on who is doing the estimating. Therefore, I was stuck here for Thanksgiving and missed a holiday with my family for the first time ever. Even though, I had friends to spend it with here, and it was nice to not be totally alone. Birdy has just been to the vet twice — once for normal things like vaccinations, and once for violent vomiting whose cause could not be identified but which cost me a show in Raleigh, which was the only musical excursion I had planned in the last several months. And it’s time to do Christmas shopping. And I am feeling pretty overwhelmed.

My car is in the shop today, and my coworker just handed me a check for $100 to help out with repairs because, she said, “I have been really blessed this year, and I’d really like to help you out with your car.” On the check, it said “Random Act of Kindness.” And today I don’t feel quite so alone in the universe.

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1 Comment

  1. Jessica said,

    December 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks. That totally made my day just now, reading this!


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