Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little Parking Help

     I mentioned the other day that I was running the Rock 'N Roll half-marathon in Philadelphia this morning.  There were more than 15,000 people running, so the logistics for some of these big races can be a bit challenging.  The race info gave some pretty good suggestions for where to find parking reasonably near the starting line.  As I got into town early this morning, I noticed that I could park on the street (as opposed to a lot) and just put money in the parking meter.  Philadelphia has moved to using those parking meters where you pay for a certain amount of time with a credit card and then put the receipt in your windshield.  It's a pretty good system, though I've found that the machines don't always work and they can be a little confusing the first time you use them.
     As I got out of my car to buy time in the meter, a woman pulled up and parked in the spot behind me.  She was running the race as well.  I could see her looking a little confused as she tried to figure out how to use the machine, so I went up and offered to help.  I showed her how to do it and helped her purchase the required amount of time.
     It wasn't a huge deal, but it was a case of seeing a need and responding.  She didn't ask me for help and I could have easily stayed wrapped up in my own race preparation.  Instead, I was aware of her confusion and chose to reach out to assist her.  I do find that many people, perhaps even most, will reach out to help in situations like these.  This is in stark contrast to the popular notion that most people "these days" aren't very friendly.  I suppose, like most things, you get what you're looking for.  I tend to find lots of friendly and helpful people everywhere I go.

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