Hurricane Sandy Made People KinderChristine Coppa
Since Sandy hit, I’ve had no concept of time or day. I refer to my cell to check the date. When I realized it was November 1 yesterday, I fled to my office and noticed the stack of bills that usually go out the week before. I opened everything and then noticed the already opened health insurance bill for JD and me. I utilize the grace period on this bill every month and the grace period was … ending.
I tried to pay via email but the system was down. I called, but the phone system, while it appeared to be up, didn’t understand the numbers I was typing in. I had no stamps, but needed to get the bills in the mail. Off to the Post Office we went. I assumed it was open, since we were receiving mail.
When we got there it was closed. Another woman arrived behind me. “Closed,” I said. “I just needed 2 stamps, too.” She dug in her purse. “I’ll give you stamps,” she said. “Really?” I replied and I dug in my purse for my wallet. She refused to take any money from me.
“Normally I don’t care, but this is our health insurance, so I need to get these payments out. With our luck, we’ll end up with no coverage, in the hospital.” She was sympathetic and sweet. Since I was working on the grace period, the lovely health insurance company would have (trust me) canceled our plans. It then would have taken 47 phones calls with an automated computerized voice to reboot them. Note to self: Stop with the grace period. STOP.
As we left, I told the woman thank you again and reminded her karma would circle back and the universe would repay her kindness. Back home, I was met by my pregnant friend and her two-year-old son in the garage. She looked frazzled. “I can’t find milk! No milk! None!” she said. Her child ran ahead of her and she had to run after him.
JD and I got back in the Jeep. We were low on milk, too. We stopped at 5 stores before I was able to find two fresh gallons of 2%. My friend’s face was nothing less than grateful when I showed up at her door. It was like I was giving her a million bucks. She wanted to give me money. “We’ve been best friend’s since we were 13. Bye!” I called to her.
In the elevator, I explained to JD that the nice lady at the Post Office helped us, so we helped Aunt Lissy—and it’s important to always help people. “Like Uncle Bri helped put Angry Birds on my iPod, Mommy. Right?” he asked. “Sort of, yes,” I said. “But more how uncle Bri got you that cool flashlight in the storm and all our water and food and how mommy helped Amy and Ed clean the floor and got everyone deeeelicious fast food for dinner that we ate by romantic candlelight.”
We have to help each other. And we shouldn’t just be helping during times of disaster. Implanted in my brain: A woman bending down in a skirt suit giving a homeless man money and telling him to, “Get food now.” It was September 11, 2001 in Center City, Philly. Chaos.
When was the last time someone paid it forward to you? Did you pay it forward in return?
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