January 31, 2010

Snow Angels

A few weeks before I officially moved to Winston-Salem, I came to town for a Nurse Anesthesia Program orientation of sorts.  Afterward I stopped to run a few errands in town before heading home to Chapel Hill.  Upon leaving the first store, I slipped the key into my car's ignition and... nothing.  So I flagged down a fellow patron, who was happy to help me jump start my car.  (Thanks, Dad, for being overly protective and arming my car's trunk with a safety kit, complete with jumper cables!)  I thought, "hmm, that was weird" and decided to continue running errands and see if the same problem would occur.*  Unfortunately, it did.  I asked the woman sitting in the car parked next to mine for a jump and she quickly agreed. But as fate would have it, her car wouldn't start either!  We were able to flag down a passing car, and the woman driving jumped my neighbor's car, but my engine just wouldn't turn over.  At this point, another woman stopped on her own volition to ensure we were alright and to offer her car as an electricity donor.  Literally, help was banging down my door.

When my car still wouldn't start, my parking lot neighbor offered to drive me to Walmart and back so that I could purchase and install a new car battery.  Not only did she let a complete stranger in her car, but she called her office to let them know that she would be late for a meeting in order to do so.  I was bowled over.

That's when I fell in love with the people of Winston-Salem.

So I shouldn't have been at all surprised when a similar occurance took place on the same road as before.  I rushed out after my clinical shift on Friday to purchase a snow shovel in preparation for the blizzard that was predicted to hit the area that evening.  (Nothing like the last minute!)  I went to Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and finally Lowe's.  Nothing.  In fact, the guy at Lowe's merely responded with a laugh when I asked him if they had any snow shovels left.

On my way out of the Lowe's parking lot, however, a man sitting in the passenger seat of a parked SUV rolled down his window and asked what I was looking for, since he'd seen me leave Home Depot empty handed as well.  Startled, I told him that I was looking for snow shovels, an item of which the entire town was depleted.  About this time, I hear a female's voice behind me saying, "Jim, are you hitting on women in the Lowe's parking lot?"  The woman laughed and I responded to her question by stating that yes, he was, and his pickup line involved snow shovels.  So we got to talking about shovels (??) and it turns out that she had sent her husband, Jim, out for one earlier in the week.  Not expecting him to actually do what he was asked, she made the same request a few days later.  One miscommunication and four shovels later, here we  were in the parking lot.  She offered to sell me her shovel for what she paid for it - $15.00.  I only had a twenty and begged her to keep the change for her trouble, but the couple wouldn't hear of it.

As we stood there talking, shovel in hand, a man approached me with a desperate look on his face.  "Where did you buy that shovel?!", he asked, running to his vehicle in the hopes of making it to the next store on his list who might still carry one.  The woman laughed and shouted after him, "I sold it to her!"  It's true what they say: I'd rather be lucky than good.  Fortunately, I am the former.

Say what you will about Winston-Salem, but I just dare you to find a better, more neighborly group of people.

* The way I see it, it's better to be faced with a dead battery in a parking lot filled with cars than a hidden, backyard-facing garage, and those were my two options.

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