The Kindness of Strangers

I was one of the millions stranded far from home by Hurricane Irene, and as a result I had an extra day in Great Falls, MT. But what to do with my found time?

The hotel shuttle driver convinced me to change my original plans so I could spend some time at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center run by the U. S. Forestry Service.

I had a delightful and informative 90 minutes looking at the exhibits. I had forgotten that Lewis and Clark had to portage around 5 waterfalls, hence the city named Great Falls. They had to travel through prickly pear cactus and up and down rough terrain – a journey that took weeks instead of days.

Educational tidbit: the correct pronunciation for “Sacagawea” is suh-COG-uh-way-uh. A very important woman in our early history.

Interesting, but here’s the astounding thing: as I was leaving the Center, I asked the Interpretive Ranger how far I had to walk to reach a nearby waterfall. She answered my question, then added, “But you really need to see the Great Falls.” Of course my next question was, “How far?”

Her reply? “Take my truck. it’s too far and too hot to walk.”

Huh? Take her truck? Holy cow. She’s gotta be kidding, I thought.

As she handed me her keys, I realized she was serious! I wasn’t second-guessing this opportunity.

What a gift this woman gave me. There I was, driving a truck at 60 miles an hour with country music loudly playing (her choice, not mine), not another vehicle in sight and nothing but vast fields of grain in all directions. omg – I could get used to this!

The Great Falls were magnificent, with vast quantities of water roaring over the steep rocks. Yet what truly amazed me was the generosity of this stranger who handed me her keys. She wanted me to fully experience the enormous obstacle that nearly quashed the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

What a delightful and unexpected gift. She didn’t have to do this. Yet, in a split second, she decided to show me her generosity of spirit.

Thanks, Mary Ellen. You are one special woman! The world needs more people like you.


Your call to action:

Where can you show your generosity of spirit? How might you offer a gift for the sheer joy of giving? When was the last time you offered kindness to a stranger?


The Kindness of Strangers — 1 Comment

  1. Love this post, Robin – thanks! We should all always be asking not how we can get more, but how we can give more!