I keep reliving this event over and over in my head, and not necessarily for the reasons you might assume.
The day I broke my wrist, Hamlet and I were out for a walk. I stopped paying attention to where I was walking, and realized I was falling. I put out my hands to break my fall, and as a result, knocked out some front teeth (that went through my upper lip to the outside, yikes!), and of course, badly broke my right wrist. As well as some cuts and bruises, as one would expect.
I remember sitting up after I fell, and being in a bit of shock, a lot of pain, and very dismayed that something like this had happened. Again. I didn't see any other people around at first, and was wondering how long I would need to sit there on the sidewalk before I could manage to get up and head home (I was about 2 blocks from our house).
I heard a car door close, and someone said, "Are you hurt?" I looked up, and a man who appeared to be in his late 30s-early 40s was standing there. He was dressed in clothing that indicated he worked in construction or some related thing. I told him that I was pretty sure I broke my wrist, and he offered to take me to the emergency room. I asked if he could take me home, so I could put Hamlet in the house, and then my husband would take me to the hospital. So he helped me get up, and helped me into his truck, and also put Hamlet in the back seat. I gave him directions to get to our house, and he helped me out of the truck to the front door.
At this point, besides thanking him for approximately the 400th time, I asked him for his name, and/or address/e-mail so I could properly let him know how much I appreciated his help. To which he replied, "Oh no, ma'am, I was glad to help. And I don't want to be reported to ICE."
I can remember thinking, would someone actually DO that to someone who had helped them? And then I realized that, yes, there are people who would do that at the first opportunity. And I was truly saddened and ashamed to make that realization.
We tell ourselves, others, and our children that helping others is so important, and that kindness, empathy, and compassion should always inform the way we go about in the world. Talking heads on our TVs tell us that America has become a divided nation, and children are separated from their parents indefinitely at our border. Border agents tear gas migrants fleeing poverty and oppression, and our "leaders" say it's necessary and not that bad.
The holidays are here. We just had Thanksgiving, where we celebrated abundance and brotherhood and were reminded to be thankful. The season reminds us - regardless of religious beliefs or none - to remember those who are not as fortunate, and to help them if we can. We draw closer to loved ones, realizing how lucky we are, regardless of what we complain about all of the time.
And here I am, not just thankful for the man who helped me, but frustrated that I was not able to let him know in a more coherent way how grateful I was for his help, because of a truly terrible person in charge, and his terrible, spineless allies who instead want me to turn him in because he is not here legally.
That's the end of the story, as far as my direct interaction with my helper. But it has made me more committed than ever to do everything in my power to be like him - helping someone who needs it, even if the worst case scenario could come into play.
Say "thank you" to someone today. Help someone if you can, no matter how big or small that help may be. Do it because of him, and to help me pay his kindness forward.
And, lest I not take my own advice - thank you for reading and for your continued friendship and encouragement during my recovery. You are all what the world is truly made of and what will prevail if we can just stay on track.