Kindness always counts

I was loading groceries into the back of my SUV and quite unexpectedly, a plastic jug of raspberry tea decided to make a run for it by rolling rather clumsily down the gentle sloped grocery store parking lot, stopping only by the grace of the cart corral.

I walked quickly toward the wayward tea bottle, unaware that the cart I left unattended also decided to take a roll down the same semi hill, heading toward a black sedan in the first row. My life and insurance policy flashed before my eyes, as I prepared myself for the crash that was bound to take place.

From nowhere, a young woman stepped in front of the cart, grabbed onto the large bar in the front, and put an abrupt end to the cart’s destructive journey. I thanked her wholeheartedly, and I certainly would have given her a well-deserved hug, but these days, we are refraining from any sort of touch, whether it is an embrace, a handshake, or a pat on the shoulder. I can only imagine the damage that would have ensued if that cart had collided with that lovely black car. I consider that kind and very quick-thinking young woman to be a hero, at least to me.

There are heroes all around us. We are forever humbled by the service our military forces provide, as well as physicians, nurses, firefighters, police officers, teachers, truck drivers, mail carriers, food service workers and so on. All of these brave individuals are lifesavers in one way or another, blessings to a society that has of late been in dire need of those who step forward, very often putting their lives on the line. They are so deserving of our gratitude and our admiration. 

And there are others, those brave souls who are not at all reluctant to assist in time of need. The gentleman standing in line who offers his place to an elderly man or woman who has difficulty moving about or standing for long periods of time, There is the young gentleman driving by an obviously lost dog who takes a moment to stop and take hold of the leash to prevent the dog from running into the path of a vehicle while he calls for help. There is the fast food patron who pays it forward by picking up the tab for the car behind him. And there is the oil delivery service man, who crawls through wet snow, tugging a heavy oil hose behind him as he fills a nearly empty oil tank in subzero weather. 

We are surrounded by heroes. Many of you reading these words are heroes yourself and you may not even recognize it. You are not afraid or reluctant to reach out in whatever way is appropriate to lend a hand or even save a life. You may even be willing to stop a speeding shopping cart before it collides with a vehicle, or even with a bystander who just happens to be in its path. 

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and from every walk of life. I am going to try and be more aware of their existence and their value in this life. Keep your eyes wide open — there may be a hero just around the bend. Please take the time to thank him or her, regardless of the extent of the heroism. And please remember to be kind. 

Belinda Ouellette lives in Caribou with her Goldendoodle, Barney. You may email her at belindaouellette9@gmail.com.

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