Friday, May 15, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers (Albanian, that is)

Recently, I had an important medical appointment and waited patiently at my T Stop for the streetcar that would transport me only four stops located near my destination. Clearly, I realized that something was amiss because the T service was very slow that particular morning.

Since my T Stop was located at a red light, I decided, on the spur of a moment, to see if I could "hitch a ride" to my not-too-far-away destination. So, when I saw a male driver with an empty seat beside him, I asked - quite politely - if he would mind driving me only 6 blocks so I wouldn't be late for my medical appointment. Alas, I was refused three times in a row, but, after realizing that I might be late for my important appointment, I decided to make one final request for a lift.

Then, a black SUV stopped at the red light so I asked the driver if he might consider driving me the 6 blocks. He looked at me for a moment, and then responded, "OK, get in." As we drove away, I expressed my thanks profusely, and the man responded simply "No problem" in a foreign accent I couldn't quite place. I then dared to ask him where he came from, and, after a slight pause, he stated, "I'm from Albania." With barely-concealed delight, I gently inquired - in the Albanian language - "Po ka ku te kemi?" that means in English "Where do you come from?" The man slowly turned his face to me in utter amazement as a broad smile came across his face and then insisting that he would drive me right to the front entrance of my appoinment(located on a side street). The man even offered to wait for me so we might have coffee afterwards!

To respect the privacy of that Albanian person, I won't reveal his full name other than to inform you that his first name was Genci. I was quite proud of the fact that - after three turndowns - I was able to get to my medical appointment on time - thanks to the kindness of an Albanian stranger!


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