Random Acts of Kindness / Hills less daunting by helpful people
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Three friends and I were going to a restaurant on Mount Washington on May 26 to meet other friends who had come from out of town for a concert.
We thought it would be nice to show the out-of-towners our beautiful city from up there. We made a mistake, however, by taking the Mon Incline instead of the Duquesne Incline. We had a good walk when we got off.
One of our friends had a breathing problem, and the other was just out of the hospital. We got to the corner and saw the steep hills and knew our friends would not make it. We asked them to sit on the steps of a house while we tried to get help.
Out of nowhere this kind lady by the name of Donna stood on her porch and asked if we needed a ride up the hill, and we agreed. We tried to pay her, and she wouldn't hear of it. All ended well.
Donna, thank you very much, but that is the kindness of our Pittsburgh people.
Two random acts in one day!
After my husband had a medical procedure done at Mercy Hospital, we returned to our car, which was parked on the roof of the garage in 91-degree heat in the midst of metal and cement. The front tire was flat.
Act I: I have health issues, and my husband had just had anesthesia. A man named John popped up out of nowhere and took over. He had to crawl into my trunk to retrieve the jack and tire. He sat on the hot cement and spent 30 minutes struggling with lug nuts and so on. He absolutely refused to take either money or a restaurant certificate for all his help. I think maybe I noticed a small pair of wings when he walked away.
Act II: Riding on the temporary tire, we stopped at a business on Route 51 that advertised tires. We had never been there before. They replaced a faulty valve and changed the tire, taking special care to bolt the temporary tire into place and replace the carpeting in the trunk. The manager then handed us a rewards card and said that, as new members, there would be no charge. Really? I didn't know that businesses did that sort of thing these days!
Until today, I'd been feeling rather sad about the way things have changed in the last 25 years. People are in a rush, gasoline stations seem to be places where you run into angry people, department stores no longer offer much in the way of service and, generally, people seem rather depressed, although some manage to return a smile.
But just having returned home from these two experiences, I feel so wonderful that we're going to go out and look for ways to help other people the way these two gentlemen helped us.
On a recent Sunday evening, a friend and I were driving to Mt. Lebanon for a party. Despite being directionally challenged, I felt confident of finding our way because of the very clear directions the hostess had provided.
However, as I learned later, I'd miscopied them, and suddenly we had no idea where we were. Neither of us had brought Marilyn's phone number. As we sat pondering our next move, a man bounded out of his garage, and we hailed him.
He walked over, greeted us cordially, told us exactly how to get to Hazel Drive, then offered to lead us there. I resisted; he insisted. While thanking him, I added that I also appreciated that he helped us with such cheerfulness.
"Oh, all credit for that goes to my wife, Nancy. We've been married 27 years and she's trained me well," he said, smiling throughout our exchange.
"Sounds like you love her," I ventured.
"With all my heart and soul," he replied, warming our hearts even more on this already torrid evening.
So, many thanks, Fred -- and Nancy, too! Only in Pittsburgh -- and how sweet it is.
First Published July 12, 2012 12:00 am