Perfect Strangers

I was out of the car when I heard Hank yell. He accidentally shut the driver’s side door on the ring finger of his left hand. Hank was in too much pain to do it himself so I popped open the door. He was writhing in pain. The top of his finger was mangled and bleeding badly.

That’s when the woman sitting in her car in the Whole Foods parking lot in Santa Fe got out. I am a nurse and a healer, she told me. She took a look at Hank’s hand. You need to get him to urgent care, she told me. His finger will need stitches.

That’s when a man wearing a black cowboy shirt and bolo stopped. He wanted to know what happened. His advice: get some ice.

The woman asked the man: Could you do that?

Not sure if the man responded, I ran inside to the fish counter for ice, but when I returned, I found the man indeed brought a bag of ice. The woman had written directions to an urgent care office.

I thanked them both and got the car started.

I found the place although I don’t know Santa Fe very well. (I did have to stop once at a bakery to check directions when I got lost briefly.) Hank’s finger needed six stitches but thankfully no bones were broken. He felt no pain after it was numbed.

I can recall many times when I’ve been helped by perfect strangers, like when our VW camper van slipped into a ravine in the middle of nowhere in Mexico or a Vietnamese restaurant owner in Paris had no work but a free place to stay. Then, there are the more mundane experiences like someone giving up their seat on a bus in Boston or stopping to help with a flat tire.

We will likely never see those two strangers again. But I am grateful for their help. Thank you.

For more of my writing, this time on food, visit http://joanlivingstoncooks.blogspot.com/


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