An Unspoken Connection Bridging Two Strangers
He was sitting on the front steps when I pulled up to his house. Waving hi, he asked if he should sit in the back seat. I said no and motioned him into the front seat. “The only time someone sits in the back seat is if there’s no room in the front,” I smiled.
We introduced ourselves, he buckled his seat belt, and I started the car with my passenger next to me. As a new volunteer driver with the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, I wanted to be sure everything went smoothly.
I left my house early enough to get to the other person’s house and then drive to the treatment center. All was well until I realized I’d made a turn in the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going. I had to be at the other person’s house in 15 minutes and now had to backtrack to the point where I’d made the wrong turn. That worked out well until I hit traffic and every red light.
The Universe has a sense of humor: just as my car’s digital clock indicated I was one minute late I arrived at his house and then realized it was two minutes fast.
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Early last month the final paperwork (background check) was submitted, part of the volunteer driver application process; I was accepted two weeks later. Once or twice a week an area coordinator notifies volunteers about who need rides, the location and destination, and whether the need is one way or round trip.
The car’s engine had eight miles when I leased it on August 8, 1998, and bought it in 2001 when it came off lease. Its engine had eight miles. During the past five years I’ve thought about getting a new car (yesterday its engine had 137,000 miles) yet couldn’t part with it.
While looking for additional work I wanted to make myself and the car useful.
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We talked on the way to his treatment and back, easy and friendly conversation, and I feel uplifted for having met this person and for this first experience. That’s putting it mildly. I felt privileged to do this service.
After we got back to his house and said goodbye I drove silently, radio off, alone with my thoughts. Not until I parked the car at my house did the enormity of the past three hours affect me.
I cried, thinking about two rides and time spent helping another person. Friday gave me an injection of gratitude, and while he doesn’t know I’ll tell him when I see him next week.
I’d like to know what you think.
Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016