As children we would tease each other with the expression of, “It takes one to know one.” And so I cannot only empathize with the plight of those whose drive home Thursday night was a disaster, my 4½ hour treacherous trip home to Brooklyn put me in your driver’s seat. True, others had it much worse. One teacher never made it home, having to stay in a motel. Another teacher had to get off her bus, walking in the worst of the storm. Others will share their own unfortunate story.
The forecast of 1-3 inches of snow transformed into the perfect storm. Of course, fingers are pointing everywhere, with politicians blaming the weatherman, the weatherman blaming unprepared city officials, schools blaming both, and teachers and parents blaming schools. Experience and maturity take the higher ground … it was unfortunately, and sometimes painfully, an unprecedented, unpredictable, major mess.
However, I would like to share a remarkable ray of sunshine whose light shone through the worst of the pounding snow. WAZE, in an attempt to reroute my trip towards an open path, guided me into the midst of the city of Kearny.
Driving with compromised vision, I suddenly heard a crack as my driver-side windshield wiper broke off and landed on the hood of my car. With no vision on the driver’s side, I leaned over to the right passenger side and eyed a gas station on the block ahead.
Pulling in, the attendant had interest only in pumping gas, offering no advice or suggestions where I might secure another windshield wiper. At the same moment, a man was filling his car with gas and he came to offer assistance. Stating the obvious, he indicated that my windshield wiper didn’t simply come off the base, it cracked off. The rest of the story, well, read on.
“Sir,” he commanded, “go to the next green light, make a right and drive to the end of the block. You will find my auto repair shop. I sold it and I am transferring ownership this Tuesday. Maybe I can help you!”
Literally inch by inch, I found my way to the interior of this man’s repair shop. No words can describe the astonishment that occurred as the man pointed out that the shop was entirely empty. Not a tool, not a tire, not a part. The exception, one packaged plastic hose and a box of random windshield wipers.
Scratching his head, Steve, the owner of the shop, offered, “to tell you the truth I have no idea why this box is here. It should have been thrown out yesterday!”
Three minutes later, with the windshield wiper securely attached to my car, he proudly stated, “It’s a goodfer.” “Goodfer,” I asked?” “Yes sir. It’s good for now. It will get you home safe.” When I asked him where an angel like him comes from, he placed total blame on his grandmother for making him the kind person he became.
Random happening with a random box of windshield wipers during a random storm. I am thinking: A G-d for now — and always.
Rabbi Baruch M. Hilsenrath