Photograph by Meg Bitton
When I was in college I went on a ski trip with a huge group of friends. Being college students we rented a cabin and all 20+ of us planned to cram in for the weekend. The rental office caught on and asked us to trim the numbers. Four friends and I were the last to arrive at the house so we agreed to find another place to stay.
I'm dating myself but this was before the Internet and cell phones so we... flipped through the Yellow Pages. It was night time so luckily we found a hotel with vacancy and planned to drive over. We were in 2 separate cars so our car headed down the hill to an open area near a condo complex to wait for our friends in the other car to pack up so we could caravan to the hotel.
While we waited in the car a woman approached us asking for help. She was waiting for the rest of her party to arrive but she asked if we could help her put snow chains on her car. It was already dark out but we were in no hurry so we were game. It took all 5 of us about half an hour and the rest of her family and friends arrived as we finished putting on her chains.
She asked where we were headed and we told her we were on our way to find a place to stay. She asked us to wait a moment while she discussed something with her family. She returned after 5 minutes and asked us if we'd like to stay with her and her 2 kids in her condo. She had extra loft space that slept 5 and a separate bathroom for us. It was the least she could do since we helped her with her chains. We were floored and we happily accepted.
She didn't have an extra set of keys so she left them in a safe place so we could come and go as we pleased. We stayed with her for 2 nights and she refused to let us pay for lodging. On our last night we treated her and her kids to pie and ice cream we picked up at the local grocery store.
I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't interact much with our host or her kids so I don't know her story. At the time I was shy and wary of strangers so I kept to myself or people I knew. I hadn't yet traveled much or interacted with a lot of people. My present day self would've taken the the time to get to know the kind stranger who opened up her home and turned what could've been an undesirable lodging situation into a beautiful experience. I may not know many details but more than a decade later I still remember all the positive emotions I felt. Looking back I'm amazed and thankful that we were brought together. There are good people in this world who will help each other out just because. Knowing that keeps me going and makes me smile.
I love hearing stories so please feel free to share yours about the kindness of strangers! Thanks!