Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Angels Among Us #4

Good Samaritan Doe

This post is ripped from the headlines of  my life, circa 1994. It was a Saturday morning, hubby at work, I'm home in the apartment with our 10 month old son and a small mountain of over-due laundry.

We'd just moved to Indiana, and the cost of relocating left precious little in the bank. I was trying to stretch every penny, and decided to save money by letting our clothes air dry on the tiny patio area outside the back door. That's what I was doing when I smelled smoke and realized I'd left my lunch cooking on the stove.

Too late. The stove and cabinets above were in already in flames, so I grabbed the baby and ran into the hallway, looking for a fire extinguisher. Every building was supposed to have one on each floor, but all I found were empty cases. All stolen, that's what I was told. Who in bloody hell steals fire extinguishers??

This happened before everyone over age five had cell phones, so I started running through halls, banging on doors, pleading for help. It was all quite dramatic, but people ignored me like I was a pregnant virgin on a donkey. I had a horrible moment, terrified my carelessness might've doomed every single person in that building.

Finally- finally - a door opened.

Most of what happened that day is a blur, but I'll never forget the man who allowed a desperate, barefoot. stranger into his home.

Tall, late middle-age, tufts of white hair around the temples. He walked with a cane, and I remember thinking how hard it must've been, living on the third floor of a building without an elevator.

He called the fire department, then waited outside with me until they arrived. He held my son on his lap while I spoke to the police and apartment manager.

This kind and generous Good Samaritan  took the edge off a nightmare, but I was so wrapped up in my own drama, I never even asked his name.

Many years later, I gave him one.