Last spring, I was leaving the college later in the afternoon on a Friday. Anyone who has stayed late on a Friday knows that there aren’t too many people around after about 3:30. About that time on this day, I realized I was a little late for picking up my son, so I added a dash of hurry as I crossed the north parking lot to my car. The lot was almost empty, open and still like a sea of pavement.
I tossed my work bag in the back seat, hopped in and pulled around near the Life Science building to head toward the exit. In the distance, I saw two young men at the fringe of the lot, near the Tech buildings, waving at me with both arms over their heads as if to hail me. I thought to myself, “Do they need help? If they need help, I’m going to have to refer them to security. I just don’t have time to help anyone right now.” But I turned the car in their direction.
They kept waving as I drove toward them. Finally, one guy broke into a run, heading straight for the car, leaving his friend behind him, so I stopped and rolled down my window.
“Hey! You’re driving with your trunk open!” he shouted. I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed. But I hadn’t. When I checked the review mirror, the view was indeed blocked by a sheet of silver.
At this point, he was nearing the car. “Do you want me to close it for you?”
“Sure,” I mumbled.
He slammed it shut, and I saw him in the rearview mirror waving amiably as I headed for 59th Ave. I waved thanks to him out the window.
The lesson for me at that moment was clear: we all need help even when we don’t know that we need help. The best I (or anyone) can do is let myself receive help gratefully when it comes–especially when it arrives before I even know that I need it.