Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Kindness Of Strangers

Yesterday, I hobbled back to work after a week-long sabbatical precipitated by foot surgery.

In addition to providing a much-needed workout for my upper arms, my first ever stint on crutches has given me a new appreciation for functioning limbs -- and for the kindness of strangers. Like the cab driver who helped me out of his taxi and lifted me onto the curb. Or the suited guy who whooshed past then stopped in his tracks to hold the elevator door for me.

The staffers at Old John’s Luncheonette on the Upper West Side were equally accommodating when I had brunch there with friends on Sunday. After I enjoyed a sublime frittata cooked to perfection, one of the waiters wheeled me around and offered me his arm when I hopped up to use the restroom. Another carried me -- in my wheelchair -- down the restaurant’s front steps and would accept my thanks but no gratuity for his efforts.

Sometimes, a helping hand comes in the form of laughter. As I waited for change at a deli, the man behind me quipped--

“I hope the other guy is still in the hospital.”

A little humor goes a long way when you’re post-op. So does a cute guy going out of his way, like the one who spent five minutes helping me hail a cab last week.

Bloomingdale's: Sometimes it takes two to hail a cab here

Commenting on the Indian Summer-like weather, the handsome stranger said--

“I’d much rather be out here helping you find a cab than inside at my desk.”

Had I not been in a slightly medicated haze, I would have responded with more than just a simple thank you.

Upon sharing this little anecdote with my good friend Caroline, she said my crutches might end up being a male magnet. Who knows? Maybe there’s something to the whole damsel in distress thing, especially when it’s of finite duration.

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