A week or so ago, I found someone online with a pair of skis to give away. I recently bought a pair, but these are a little bit longer and a friend could use them when we go on our skiing holiday. I wrote and arranged a time.
On the evening of the pick up day, winter arrived. It was several degrees below freezing and windy. I’d planned to cycle over after work, pick up the skis and walk the 3-4 miles home, pushing my bike with the skis resting on the handlebars. Leaving the relative comfort of the workshop and going out into the bleak midwinter darkness made me rethink my decision. It was cold. I was cold. I was wearing my cycling jacket and jumper combo, but the wind was blowing through both. My thermal undies were defenceless and although my gloves are usually pretty good, my fingers were frozen within minutes.
I did what any sensible person would do. I phoned a friend. Or in this case my neighbour. The one with a car.
He snuffled and coughed his way through the hellos and how-are-yous, his usual voice almost completely hidden beneath the creaking huskiness of a sore throat.
“So, what can I do for you?”
“Um.. I originally wanted to ask you if you could give me a lift to <village where skis were> to pick up a pair of skis, but you sound dreadfully ill.. so I won’t. I’ll wish you a good recovery instead..”
“You have a driving license don’t you? Why don’t you borrow my car?”
“I’m serious. Ride back here and pick up the keys – you can’t honestly want to walk an hour in this weather..”
That was a very good point.
I cycled home, glowing from a previously unknown supply of trust-in-advance.
In the end, he drove. He’d had to get up and dressed to open the door and hand me the keys, so he said he’d be fine for the few minutes round trip.
Even though I didn’t get to prove myself worthy of his trust, I am awed by the fact that he offered it at all. I don’t remember the last time anyone trusted me that much without at least knowing me better first.
And I don’t remember the last time anyone went out of their way for me while ill enough to warrant staying home from work and drinking honey&lemon and sniffing olbas oil. (Except maybe the time my brother picked me up from the airport.. but he’s my brother so it’s part of the job description :p)