It was a frigid Canadian winter’s day and I was supply teaching in a local school. I was having a horrible morning. Remember how your prepubescent classmates treated the substitute teacher when you were a kid? Well, I was now THAT teacher. Needless to say, I was attempting to keep the class under control but struggling to do so. I knew that if I was to make it through the afternoon I needed a coffee. At lunch, I drove to a plaza about 10 minutes away and got my caffeine fix. As I approached my car, I suddenly realized that my keys were locked inside. Ugh. As was my cell phone. Ugh again. Panicked and desperate, I hurried into a nearby McDonald’s and approached the man at the counter (who turned out to be the manager) and asked him if he could call me a cab. I briefly explained my situation and I could tell from his expression that he sympathized with my desperation. I was a little beyond stressed at this point. When you are substitute teaching, you are basically trying to make the best impression possible on every principal and school you go to in the hopes that they will like you and that you may be one step closer to landing a full time gig. Not showing up after lunch or being late would put you in their bad books. So the manager hurried to the back to call me a cab while I paced the restaurant. The clock was ticking. I had about 10 minutes until the bell rang. I debated running but it being winter and likely a long and icy jog back, I wouldn’t make it in time. Several minutes later he returned only to tell me that the cab company had put him on hold and that he had then become disconnected. He was now back on hold again. No cab was coming yet. Crap!
I must have made some sort of terrified face because without hesitation he grabbed his coat and said “I will drive you”. So without a thought I followed him. In no time I was back at the school with only a couple of minutes to spare before the bell. I thanked this man endlessly for his kind gesture and to which he replied, “that’s what McDonald’s is for”. Not just the Big Mac I guess.
I think back to this day often and it makes me happy. Happy that a total stranger would care enough to help me out of a bind. I guess we may not be able to solve all the world’s problems in a day but we do have the power to put a smile on someone else’s face and make their day just a little bit brighter. And who knows, maybe one day that person will write a listserve entry about you!
I am now a full time teacher living in Toronto and I share this story with my wee ones every year. It’s simply kindness.
Thank you for reading.
P.S. Shout out to Pedro, the best hubby a girl could ever ask for.
P.P.S. Shout out to Jo, Ange, Elena & Danielle, the 4 best friends that anyone's ever had.