Saturday, December 22, 2007

COOL ...

I had a business meeting scheduled at my home on Wednesday morning with someone I have not met in person before. When he called to confirm a few days earlier, I made a point of mentioning that he should please be careful on the walkway as it was very icy. The weather has been really bad these last few weeks and with DDTF being away the whole week in Hong Kong, no-one was available to shovel and salt the area. Selfishly I didn’t pay too much attention to it as Ross and I exit and enter the house through the garage. If I drove slowly and carefully enough down the driveway, I would manage not to get the car into trouble in spite of the layer of ice that was now my driveway. My lovely neighbor, Stan ploughed the driveway for me on the Sunday, but under the snow was a layer of ice from the rain and freezing temperatures from the week before. It was a real mess.

When Person A. called me to tell me he was on his way but running late, I once again cautioned him to negotiate his way very carefully up the walkway to the front door. He told me that I had mentioned this previously, that he had heard me and that he, “got it!”

My office window is directly above the walkway. I was working at my desk when suddenly I heard a loud and clear THUD outside on the walkway. I couldn’t move. I put my head in my hands and the first thought that went through my mind was, “Oh great – we are about to be sued by Person A.” I remained glued to my chair as I heard yet another THUD … and another … and another. By this time, still glued to my chair, I had visions of the ambulance arriving with DDTF’s colleagues coming to rescue the THUDDER off my walkway. I was thinking to myself that although there was really no point in my going to his rescue because how would I be able to lift him off the ice, I had to go downstairs and see what was happening. The picture I had formed in my head while the THUDDING continued and seemed to get LOUDER with each THUD, was one of Person A. lying on the walkway THUDDING his fists on the ice to get someone’s attention from inside the house.

I managed to dislodge my terrified ass off my chair and mustered up the courage to look out of my office window. To my shock and relief, I see Person A. on his feet … and the explanation to the THUDDING took me by complete surprise.

I got on my stair chair, made my way down to the front door, opened it, and all I could think to say was, “WHAT are you doing?” Important to note at this point that I had not met Person A. before, I had only ever spoken with him on the phone.

“Person A. asked me to come by and do this before he got here.” he said.
“Yeah, right – I do recognize your voice. I can’t believe you are doing this* for me.” I replied.
“Well,” he said, “I study torah every week and I have learnt that one of the best ways to build bridges is to do something for someone when they least expect it. So, thank YOU, for giving me the opportunity to do this for you!” he explained.

To clarify, – this* amounted to close to 45 minutes of hard labor – breaking the ice and then shoveling it away – this was no small task.

I could not believe that this total stranger arrived here, having totally planned to shovel my walkway with no knowledge of how much work this would take. He came equipped with an ice breaker, snow shovel, the boots and gloves to do it in and the sole intention of extending this random act of kindness to me.

I don’t think I could have scripted a better story if I had tried that would so perfectly speak of what the season of goodwill is all about.

Needless to say, we went on to have a very successful meeting and what he did was totally super cool, don’t you think?