I have a group of friends who are utterly ridiculous, but in the best way possible. They are intelligent, strong and funny women who aren’t afraid to laugh, and well, say whatever is on their mind.
Something about them is either terrifying or disarming to a stranger, and when we all hang out together, we usually end up meeting some great people because of their utter sincerity and authenticity. They’re also some of the most loyal friends a gal could have.
A few of them came up last weekend during the snowstorm but the first to arrive got to Nashville just as the snow blitzed everything white. She got stranded outside of the city and was forced to pull over at a nearby Lowe’s, catch a ride with a local shopper, and make her way to my house. My street was already a sheet of ice and impassable.
She was able to get to a bridge that crossed over into my part of town after the guy she caught a ride with got his truck stuck twice. After some pushing and snow sludge, they were able to get the truck back on it’s way. Luckily, the bridge was a few miles from my house, and I started walking to meet her.
On my way, I caught a ride with a fireman in a huge pickup who used his days off to volunteer. I told him about my friend, how we’ve known each other since we were five, and how we always seemed to find ourselves in these types of situations. You’d think we would grow out of them, but we haven’t.
We’ve hitchhiked together in Ireland with a German folk band after missing our bus and nearly missing our final train, and caught rides in the back of open vehicles in Nicaragua to bypass some even crazier bus rides. If I’ve learned one thing about this friend over the countless trips, it’s that she isn’t afraid of adventure. Because of those adventures, we’ve met some people I’d never have interacted with otherwise.
The bridge where she was crossing dropped her off in a park, but she wasn’t answering her phone so I wasn’t sure where in the park she was. The firefighter insisted on giving me his number so that I could call him once I found her and he said he would come pick us up. Pretty great, right? He didn’t have to care, but he did.
I started walking into the park through the snow and it was stunning! Few had been through yet so everything was left undisturbed, in a blanket of white with icicles and frosted tree limbs.
Just when I wondered whether or not I’d find my friend, I got a call from an unknown number. Her phone had died and a hardcore runner who was training for a marathon had asked if she wanted to use his. I figured out where she was, then my phone died, and sure enough, within a few minutes I found her along one of the trails with all of her luggage!
We hugged and laughed and gathered her bags before starting out on the trek home. Less than a mile on our way, a jeep stopped with two do-gooders who offered to give us a ride. They were just driving around seeing who they could help! Both were Nashville natives and told us about the last snow that hit the city like this back in the 80s, and we swapped stories about people we’d met along the way.
This was just a little moment in our weekend with friends, but what I was reminded of was that there are people who will surprise you with their kind hearts, and at least in my experience, none of them ever look like you’d expect them to look, talk how you’d expect them to talk, or any of those inconsequential stereotypes we cling to.
I’m thankful for these people— like the firefighter, the man who drove my friend from Lowe’s to the bridge, and the two do-gooders who dropped us off at my house. I pray to be like them and always have an open door or welcoming smile. And I pray that I’ll remember to set aside stereotypes or assumptions about the next person who might ask for money, a ride, or something else needed.