The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 5:03:28

The kindness of strangers

Katie van Schaijik, Nov 12, 2011

Last night, looking for a mom's potluck dinner, I went to the wrong address.  I knew it must be wrong when I saw so few cars.  But movement at the window gave me the courage to ring the bell.  The woman who answered saw me standing there with a bottle of wine and a doubtful look on my face.  

"This isn't the Swifts, is it?"  

She didn't recognize the name, but she did recognize my perplexity.  She opened her door wider and said, "Come on in.  We'll figure it out."

I had the street number wrong.  But now I was doubting that I was even looking for the right house.  Maybe the party wasn't at the Swift's at all.  I said to her, "If there's no one there, can I come back and use your phone?"  She said, "Sure, of course.  I'm Kris."

The Swifts' house was completely dark, so a few minutes later I was in her cozy kitchen with her sweet little kids bouncing around my feet, eagerly showing me the pictures they'd drawn that day.

I called Jules, who, checking my email, could tell me that the party was not at the Swifts, but at the Webers, in the next town.  I'd be late, but I could still make it.

Kris said, "Otherwise, we're going out for ice cream if you'd like to join us."

I walked out her door feeling not panicky and self-condemnatory (the way being lost usually makes me feel) but blessed and enriched and inspired by my brief encounter with that good family—overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.