Kindness of Strangers

On my way to Newcastle. I'm desperate to get there early, so I'll have time to rest and go through my set between my arrival and my show. Halfway there I stop at some services, I buy some cappuccino, am ready to get going again, just quickly want to get something from the back seat.

The moment the door slams shut, the car suddenly locks itself behind me. 

I try the door. Nothing. I stand there like an idiot, staring blankly at my car. I can see the keys on the passenger seat; my phone, my wallet. And I'm on the wrong side, shut out. I've got nothing. I have to think of that Sufism saying, " You only own what you can't lose in a shipwreck."

A strange calm comes over me. I've still got about 200 miles to drive and am stranded, but I feel convinced to trust that things will turn out alright. Although it feels surreal. Like a Seinfeld episode. Or an act of God. 

I turn towards the shops and watch the bustle of people, all busy rushing around, all caught up in their own lives and dramas. Who do I ask for help?

When you've got nothing the kindness of strangers is your best and only bet.

"Go to the hotel" a voice in my head says, one that I've come to trust whatever crazy things it seems to suggest. The hotel is empty and quiet, except for a woman at the reception desk who's talking on the phone. 

I wait patiently, still somewhat in a stupor. I  explain my bizarre and unlikely situation. And although, just like me, she's neither experienced in breaking into cars nor has any criminal friends, in the next few hours she's showing incredible generosity. She supplies me with coffee, offers of food, the use of her phone and emotional support while I feverishly try and remember who my break down cover is with. 

At last, as I gratefully watch my car being broken into, I know my faith has paid off. I feel strangely elated. Who knows why this happened. Maybe it saved me from getting into an accident. Maybe it saved the recovery person from an accident. Maybe it was just an exercise in trusting and staying calm. Or a reminder of just how absolutely amazing people are. I feel like I've passed a test. 

I rush back inside the hotel to present the amazingly kind woman who helped me with a box of cupcakes - cupcakes I baked the night before without knowng what they'd be destined for. 

Some days the universe seems to work with clockwork precision. I might not understand its workings, but life would cease to be an adventure if I did.






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