Kindness is in our nature. Our good friends Miryam and Baruch crossed the pond a few years ago and found themselves in a strange land. But strangers are only strangers until they are not. Blanche DuBois whispered into Miryam’s ear: “I’ve always depended upon the kindness of strangers.” Miryam took the hint, and what followed was a sweet act of kindness that set the tone for our uncertain immigrants. (A rhetorical question: If where you end up at the end of your travels you call home, are your really an immigrant?).
Do you have a story of kindness? The first ten stories entered into our “One-of-a-Kindness” contest receive a More Good t-shirt. Be part of the goodness here: https://awordwithyoupress.com/2018/08/26/one-of-a-kindness-our-new-contest/
And here is Miryam’s More Good story
Sometimes Getting Lost Is The Best Route Home
Realizing that I had entered the wrong street number in my Google-walk app, I slumped against a shop window on Yaffa Street under some shade, and took a deep breathe. My husband, Baruch, had already reached his limit of patience due to our ordeal of taking two wrong buses, and now I feared the realization of putting in the wrong address may very well send him flying into the twilight zone! What should have been a 15 minute bus ride from our apartment to Mahane Yehuda open market, had turned into a 6 hour tour of Jerusalem! We were now late to meet our good friends at a restaurant and still in a frenzy. My phone battery was about to die, and we were in need of a bathroom. Bibi (my nickname for Baruch), appeared to be scanning the universe for inner strength, looking like a bull fuming in anticipation of a full blown explosive outburst, while I was desperately searching to relocate our whereabouts on my phone app. In my peripheral vision I noticed two young men a short distance away, peering into a store window. They were very well dressed in their hats and suits of black. Normally, I would not approach two seemingly religious men, as the Jewish religious culture sometimes prohibits males from talking with unknown females. Glancing once more at Bibi, now foaming at the mouth, then back at the men at the window, I decided to go for it! What did I have to lose? The most they could do was scowl and walk away.
“Excuse me” I said, in my most grandmotherly tone, “We appear to be a bit turned around, would you be so kind as to help us with an address?” as I turned my phone towards them showing our destination.
A moment of silence followed as they inspected me, then noticed Bibi, who had moved in a bit closer. And then, an unexpected surprise was bestowed upon us! These two strangers took pity on us and smiled. A wave of reassurance washed over us, as we exhaled in relief. We must have looked desperate, which we actually were, as we thanked them profusely for helping us, explaining that we had just arrived in Israel a few weeks ago. With sudden exuberant energy, they insisted we follow them as they escorted us to our destination! “It’s on our way!” they chimed cheerfully. Their swift strides steered us seamlessly through the busy side streets, as we increased our pace to keep up. Amid the hustle and bustle of 5pm traffic, they managed to engage us in conversation while walking, curious to know our stories. With exuberant joy they both exclaimed “Mazel Tov!” at the top of their lungs, wrapping their arms around Bibi with zealous man-hugs. “Welcome to Israel” they shouted, as everyone on the street spontaneously joined in! We were quickly filled with positive encouragement, which dramatically adjusted our attitudes! Just a few minutes prior we were ragged, dusty, sojourners, lost in the sea of downtown Jerusalem. Now, suddenly, we were infused with a mega-dose of comfort and joy which lifted us out of our desperation like a magic potion. As lively music blared out of shops along the way, our two friends shouted hello to friends within, kicking up their heels and snapping their fingers in the air to the tunes. I thought for a minute that I may have been transported to someone’s wedding or bar mitzvah! One of our new friends stopped for a moment to buy a lollipop, saying with a tender glimmer, that he must bring home a treat for his little girl waiting for him at home.
Our short walk had turned into a magic carpet ride of emotional transfusion, renewing us and giving us hope that we would survive living in a new place and culture, in our 70’s no less! Bibi’s frothing had melted down into the tender old man within, and I, likewise, was relieved to say the least. As we approached our destination, we saw our friends waiting for us on the sidewalk. We felt overwhelmingly blessed and honored by the kindness offered to us by two complete strangers. Saying goodbye to our rescuers was like departing from close family, not people that we had just met 10 minutes earlier. Then it dawned on me —- Israel was my family.
And I realized; there is no place like home.