Published On: Fri, Aug 24th, 2012

The Day A Stranger Shared Her Umbrella

When I lived in Atlanta, we were technically experiencing a drought. It would rain every now and again, but the periods between rainfall and the amount of water needed for a population so large led to rules and laws that took away some of life’s simple pleasures, like watering your lawn.

One day, though, it rained. And it rained profusely. Normally I’d justify not having an umbrella because it rained so infrequently, but this one we knew was coming. Nothing like the rainy season in Kenya or monsoon rains in India, still this rain got you wet. From head to toe without an umbrella.

I was standing at a bus stop across from Corks liquor store in Marietta not far from Cumberland Mall. There was no shelter there. It rained and gave up pretending the tree next to me could help keep me dry. I stood there as if I was bathing in the shower. Cars were flying by, no telling what thoughts went through their mind.

“Poor child.”

“Hope it stops raining soon for his sake.”

“Idiot.”

Then an SUV pulled up out of nowhere. My first thought was that if the bus pulled up, she’d be in the way so it probably wasn’t a good idea to idle there. Then her window came down. Shivering and looking at anything but the driver thinking maybe she wouldn’t see me standing there like a fool, she beeped her horn. Without saying a word, she simply smiled, motioned me to the window, handed me an umbrella, said “get home safe,” and drove off.

It’s these subtle acts of kindness that remind me to never underestimate the power of chivalry. Though soaked to my bones, I felt like Humpty Dumpty all put back together again. It wasn’t the umbrella coming to my defense against the torrential rains or that I didn’t look so idiotic getting drenched when I could’ve waited out the rains in the liquor store. I was warmed by this lady taking the initiative to help another person who she’s never met and will probably never meet again.

I can’t thank her enough for her tiny act of generosity that left a huge impression of what it means to help people.

I will share this experience with Najwa when she gets older. Until then, she’ll always have an umbrella.

Najwa Gaines holding an umbrella

Najwa Gaines holding an umbrella

Najwa Gaines holding an umbrella

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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