This is a little different type of post today.
This has been a tough week. All over the world the anger and hatred of certain people is boiling over to affect other innocent people who have no part in the fight. As a traveler, and one who will be boarding an international flight tomorrow, I was particularly troubled by the crash of the Malaysian flight over the Ukraine. I found myself disconcerted, troubled, morose.
So it was a happy respite to have a tour to do on Saturday. My group of guests came from various southern states and included couples and families. We had a beautiful, coolish, breezy day and they got to see nearly everything on their “must see” list of Washington, D.C.
Towards the end of the tour, one of the guests, a college student named Emily (not her real name) asked me where would be a good place for a friend to meet her. After asking a few questions, I learned that Emily, a college senior, had come up from North Carolina with her parents and was embarking on one of those cool, crazy, fun things that college students do – c’mon, you all remember them – and parents fret about.
One friend was driving to DC from New Jersey to pick her up. They were going to go back to New Jersey and then on into New York City where another friend is interning for the summer. The problem was, that the NJ friend was stuck in traffic and the parents were reluctant to drop their daughter off alone on the streets of D.C. The bus and group had a 4pm deadline to leave Washington.
So I chimed in, “Tell your friend to meet you at Union Station. It’s an easily accessible, well-known location and my car is parked nearby so I will take you there and stay with you until she arrives.”
It was all arranged and after kisses and hugs, Emily hopped off the tour bus with me at Union Station. We went in, I showed her around and we got a coffee while awaiting the arrival of her friend. They were texting back and forth about locations and arrival times – the mom in me hoped that her friend wasn’t texting and driving. And of course, I said so. We chatted about college and plans and what to do in NYC.
I asked how long they were going to be staying in New York – it was about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon at that point – she said, “Not too long, I have to be back at work in on Monday morning.” I just laughed and wondered if she realized that it was going to take about 5 hours to drive to New York from DC. This truly was one of those crazy things you do when you are 20-ish, but I knew, given the opportunity, I’d have done exactly the same thing at that age!
Within a few minutes, her friend arrived. We waved her down and my parting words to Emily were, “Be sure to text your dad!” I am a mother, after all.
I headed across the plaza towards my car and before I even got there, my phone was ringing. It was Emily’s father, thanking me again for staying with his daughter and helping her make the connection. It was such a simple thing, really, just a little human kindness. A half-hour of my time to ease the anxiety and uncertainty of so many people. I felt great.
It’s amazing that something so simple can make you feel so good. Amid all the chaos of life it is easy to forget that. It’s likely I’ll never see her again – but those 30 minutes made my week. It truly is in giving that we receive.