From strangers to angels : The Tribune India

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From strangers to angels

From strangers to angels

Photo for representational purpose only. - Thinkstock photo



Rameshinder Singh Sandhu

LAST December, as I was taking out cash to pay for my extra suitcase at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, the check-in official, who didn’t seem to be in the mood to talk, suddenly shouted: ‘It has been nearly seven years since we stopped taking cash. You will have to go to the nearest cash machine to buy a card first, if you don’t have one. You only have three minutes as check-in is about to close,’ she said. I felt helpless as I didn’t have a card. But even before I moved, a young man waiting for his turn came forward to help. ‘To save you from the hassle, I can pay from my card and you can repay in cash.’ Within a minute, it was all sorted out. I thanked the man who helped even before I asked for it.

Some years ago, during a late-night check-in at a youth hostel in Flagstaff, a town in Arizona, the receptionist told me that the tour van I had booked for the Grand Canyon trip the next day had been cancelled. I started venting my anger. A tourist from Belgium, who was also staying there, intervened. ‘Don’t worry, my friend. I have rented a car and you can join me to visit the Grand Canyon tomorrow. With us will be a teacher from the UK, also on vacation in the US,’ he said. The next morning, we went together, and it seemed as if we had known each other since childhood. ‘I am glad the youth hostel cancelled the trip and you turned up, giving me a perfect alternative,’ I told the Belgian tourist, who didn’t take a penny from me.

Once in New Zealand on a late-night bus ride to Palmerston North from Auckland, I initiated a conversation with a young couple seated next to me. I told them that my friend was supposed to pick me up, but I was not able to contact him despite making repeated phone calls. On arriving at our destination, the couple kept waiting beside me, even though I told them that I would be fine alone. ‘This is an unsafe area at this hour as snatchings are common,’ they warned me. They also invited me to their home, but I was reluctant to bother them. Thankfully, my friend took my call at long last. ‘I had dozed off and suddenly heard the phone ringing,’ he told me. Eventually, he arrived and the couple departed. ‘I will remember your thoughtfulness forever,’ I told them.

The world is home to many such strangers, who become angels for us with their kind gestures. I am reminded of the message on a subway station wall in New York City: ‘The planet doesn’t need more successful people. The planet needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.’


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