Kindness of Strangers

We awoke in a new country. Our dining room window looked out across the large communal park area. I ordered a watermelon juice and strolled around, happily. A group of young women were celebrating something under one of the roofed eating squares, and asked me to take their photo. Forgetting where I was for the moment, I wiggled my hips and counted down like Boris Karloff to make them laugh, and snapped the picture. They invited me to eat with them -which I now wish I’d done. But we’d awakened to questions and confusion about when and how we’d ever see our bags again. Even if our phones were charged, they were not simmed properly yet for Singapore. As we stared at our phones near the food court, looking undoubtedly as lost as we were, we noticed the curious and amused expressions of onlookers. We needed help, but everyone so far spoke in very broken English -until Yi Jing passed by. 21 years young, sharp and cheerful, she was on her way to work as a production manager for an open-air performance theater in the heart of Singapore. And she was more than willing and able to try to help us. Her English was excellent, as was her attitude and determination, and she took charge of our situation. She was tech savvy, and understood the phone card ins and outs. Using her phone, she called the airport about our bags, and learned more about the complexity of the situation, without our own phones. So off she lead, to our blocky building’s 7/11 in search of the sim cards we needed. When they weren’t able to help us, she calmly walked us to the neighboring 7/11, dismissing our concerns about making her late for work. But this second store was also out of what we needed, and the next sure thing was at a shopping mall a short taxi ride away. So she did what any kind, helpful stranger already late for work would do: she hailed a taxi and took us to the mall -quickly paying for the ride before we knew what hit us! She worked with the young women behind the counter to figure out exactly what we needed, and soon, a big part of our problem was solved. But now she really needed to get to work! We exchanged contact info and said our goodbyes, and it took all we could muster to repay her for the taxi.

It was probably just around noon when we returned home, and I hit the international wall of exhaustion. I slept for maybe 14 hours, and when I awoke the next day, our bags had arrived (with help from Hamish), our phones were charged -and working- and all was right with the world. Thanks so much Yi Jing, you were an exemplary diplomat for the people of Singapore, and for  strangers everywhere.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    May 04, 2013 @ 18:15:38

    I want to move to Singapore!


  2. Matt & Rita
    May 08, 2013 @ 07:32:45

    Isn’t it wonderful what can happen when you put yourselves out there, and end up needing to ask strangers for help. Sometimes I think we are too self-reliant in the U.S.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: