The kindness of strangers

A recent invitation to join the Kindness Pandemic Facebook page brought to mind this story I wrote for The Age in 2009 shortly after the car crash that – in a strange way – was the catalyst for DIY Woman. I was determined to make the most of the life I had been spared to live. It was the inception of what started out as a guide to separation, divorce and living happily ever after, and grew into a blog for the Daring Intuitive Young@heart Woman I aspire to be. The type of woman (and occasional man) I write for. And that is you, dear reader. I hope you enjoy this story from The Age archives.

The Kindness Pandemic artwork

Most people don’t live their lives anticipating catastrophic events.

Many of us are fortunate enough to be living relatively trouble-free lives in this lucky country of ours. So when misfortune strikes, it does so with the added force of something totally unexpected. Its ripple effects touch all around us, family, friends and occasionally total strangers.

Earlier this year, the car I was driving was involved in a serious collision with another car on a stretch of country road. I soon found myself at the centre of a frenzy of activity, surrounded by paramedics, police and members of the CFA and the SES, who used an enormous can opener to get me out of what was left of my car and into a waiting ambulance.

Firefighter at the scene of a car crash
Photo credit: Matt Chesin on Unsplash

I was transported to hospital, drugged, x-rayed and diagnosed with a broken neck. Over the next eight hours I floated on a cloud of euphoria (and, it must be said, quite a bit of morphine). The knowledge that I had survived death by a fraction of a second sustained me throughout the long wait in the emergency ward and helped me to deal with the visible distress of my partner. I couldn’t explain my lack of empathy for his distress, or my desire not to have to witness it or console him. In truth, I needed to be on my own to direct my energies inwards.

Flitting in and out of my line of vision during my time at the hospital was the Red Cross lady.

She was a gentle presence in white who had, from time to time, popped her head in to offer cups of tea.  Once my visitor had gone, she ventured further in to my cubicle to check that I was all right.Her unexpected act of kindness opened the floodgates. I found myself telling her everything. About the shock of the accident, my fears for my family as a result of my injuries, my whole life.

For a further two hours we waited together for an available ambulance to transport me to another hospital. She stood by my trolley and held my hand while I offloaded all the emotion I had been withholding. I was baring my soul in the wee hours of the morning, miles from my home. She was listening, quiet and non-judgmental.

Close up of a hand being held.
Image by 6155856 from Pixabay

Even now, the knowledge that I have her contact details provides me with great comfort.

I look forward to the day when my guardian angel and I can meet again in happier circumstances.  In times of crisis, faith can sustain us. For me, my faith in human nature was reawakened by the kindness of a stranger. It has helped ease my journey towards recovery and a positive future.

2020 Postscript:  I lost my Red Cross angel’s contact details but will always remember this act of kindness. It was one of many I experienced throughout my recuperation. Reiki Rose of Geelong – if you’re out there – please get in touch via the Contact page.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.