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The Perfect Road Trip

The Perfect Road Trip
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Few Good Men


Have you ever been treated to exceptional hospitality by totally unknown people? This may seem to be a strange question in today’s world where even those who are closely related tend to avoid an acquaintance. I consider myself truly blessed having come across many an unknown people who appeared when in need and then just disappeared,

Long ago once on a trip to Dwarka in Gujrat while serving in the Navy, I along with my younger brothers went for a dip in the sea. It was uncharted water so I was skeptical but they insisted on taking a dip. Unfortunately, the sand bed gave way and soon they were gasping for breath. I tried to hold them, but the sheer weight was difficult to handle. Two men saw from a distance and rushed. They managed to pull out all but before we could thank them, they had disappeared.

On my maiden trip to the United States of America way back in the early eighties, I checked into a hotel in Long Island in New York for a month-long training. One of my cousins gave an address of an Indian doctor who worked at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital. On the weekend, I went to call on them in the evening. The doctor was away on call but his wife treated me as if we had been related for years. When the husband returned, they insisted that I stay with them overnight. More friends joined them in the evening and the overnight stay became a weekender with a game of cards, and merry making. They took me over to the Broadway and the Statue of Liberty the next day.  The next two weekends were spent in a similar manner and I never felt that I had gone away from home for the love and kindness that were showered. Years later they traveled to India and the only way I could reciprocate was to take them around the ship where I served in Mumbai.

Some years back, my wife and I traveled to Switzerland and were visiting Geneva. We waited for a tram to take us to Saleve in the direction of Vernier Covane. Mont Saleve is a tourist attraction in French territory from where one can have a panoramic view of France/ Switzerland and the return trip is about 70 km. I tried to take direction from a man who spoke only German and told us to get on the tram which he also boarded. He got off after a while and told us to follow him. He then brought out a car near the bend and told us to hop in. We were a little concerned with this overtly kind gesture as I enquired if he was a taxi driver. He waved his hand saying no he was not as he started his car. He drove for about 10 minutes before stopping his car near a house. A lady appeared from the house along with this man and spoke in fluent English. She queried as to where we wanted to go and laughed when her husband explained that we mistook him to be a taxi driver. She then informed us that her husband would take us up to Saleve and will drop us back to the tram station. This was the best help we got!!

Last week while returning to India we stopped over at Muscat. The booking was done through a portal and the host, an Omani arranged the visas for us and to our surprise, he was there to pick us up at the airport. The host arranged complimentary tickets to the Royal Oman Opera where an extravaganza of color and culture awaited us for the next 90 minutes. He then took us out for a dinner and to add the final feather to the cap, dropped us back at the airport for the return flight back.

Such happy coincidences make a difference, and strengthen the belief in the goodness of humanity. If you recollect any such incidences, do share.

PS- Image Kind Courtesy Google

18 comments:

  1. I've met many such people. They teach you a lot. Like you even I was skeptical when a lady offered me to drop as I was stuck in a secluded area where there was no bus service. Sir, I think such people make world a better place. And one reason we still believe in goodness and humanity.

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    1. Could not agree more Saru !Such memories stay forever

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  2. There is still a lot of goodness left. The year before last, we had a flat tyre in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka. It was after dark and we had no cellular connection. And fear of the wild cat must have prevented people from stopping to help. But there were a few passers by who did just that, even though it took a couple of hours to get rolling again.

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    1. True Divya. Good Samaritans do keep coming our way

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  3. You are lucky to have met so many good people who were unknown to you. Esp.the German is great!

    When we went to the U.S.for the first time, we visited a friend's house. From there we wanted to have a look at the world Trade Centre...this was after the attack. We were nearing the place and our friend also was confused. We were holding the map and looking for the place. Then suddenly a large shadow loomed on us and we saw an African American lady with colourful hair dress was trying to help us. She directed and walked for 20 mts. with us and showed the place. That was the first time I saw an African American at close quarters and found that they are very soft natured people.

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    1. That must have felt very good Sandhya! Nice to read about your experience

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  4. Oh yes, I have seen the generosity of many strangers up, close and personal. Loved all the tales that you shared with us. That German went so out of his way. These tales show us that there is human goodness still alive all around us.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Rachna. We do come across some really good people at times.

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  5. Agreed - I've received much help from strangers, especially while travelling.

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    1. Thanks Lady Fi! I knew I am not alone to have experienced these instances

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  6. This post kindled many incidents in my mind when I was been helped by complete strangers. Though I could not thank them enough, but I have been grateful throughout :)

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    1. Very happy to see you here after a while. Am happy you could relate to the post , Sonia.

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  7. Instances such as these always take you by surprise and fill your heart with warmth.

    May their tribe grow.

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  8. How true! Strangers are sometimes kinder to us than our own relatives. You have had some really heart-warming memories there. I am sure there have been more such and you have spoken about only a few here. There IS a lot of GOOD in the world yet. Thank God for that.

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  9. Thanks Sujatha and certainly the tribe of such people bring immense joy when we meet them

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