I offered my car to complete stranger this evening. Literally, a stranger - I didn't even know this man's name, but after I learned he lost his poetry and childhood photographs in the storm, I wanted to help him any way I could.
He also had an underground storage unit in Chelsea - not too far from mine. But I know he lost far more than me - because I still have nearly everything that holds my greatest words and memories. When I packed up my apartment in July, along with some clothes, I took my photos and journals back to my parents' place in Michigan.
But this man lost his words and his photos. Those are irreplaceable. He admitted to tears in mourning the loss of the most intimate evidence of his life.
But before handing him my keys, I reneged on my offer, fearful he might get a parking ticket while trying to load his salvageable possessions out of my car and into his apartment. (I've learned the hard way; you can't load and unload a vehicle in the city without someone else being present to babysit your car. The ticket cops are bound to get you.) I also considered he might hit a new Mercedes, like the last person who borrowed my car did, or worse, steal it altogether.
I explained if I could stay and help, I would, but I needed to get to Bible Study.
So I took off, and by the time I got to the end of the street, I felt like a complete a**hole for taking back my offer because I needed to go do my Christian thing, when I knew the Jesus thing would be to stay.
I reversed with my emergency flasher back down the one-way street, determined to let this man know I would somehow help him. But unable to find a convenient parking space (and fearful of another parking ticket), I gave up, and continued on my way to my small group.
But I couldn't shake the ickiness for having had the opportunity to do something kind for someone who was hurting, and letting it pass by.
PART II - yet to be finished...
After calling and speaking with Valencia at the storage place... she called him on my behalf, and gave him my number...
Shortly after 8:30 I receive a text, "Hi Katrina. Thank you so much for your kind offer to help me today. It's been an overwhelming couple of weeks for everyone - but thanks to kindness like yours - it is all just a little easier. So thank you very much. I secured my things i could save in another unit - and all will hopefully be okay. Thanks again for your kind offer to help. Best, Nicholas"
And I reply, "would u reconsider? i have 3 guys here who r eager to help & an already smelly car that is getting shampooed clean tomorrow - think on it for a few... we can meet u at 9:15"
"That's so kind of you!! I would hate to be an unnecessary burden. I locked my things in the next unit over from mine - hoping for the best. I'm sure it will be okay. Again - thank you for your compassion. It's a rare find these days."
"ah but we are all about carrying others' burdens :) but i understand your decline - yet feel free to change your mind in the next 20 mins ~katrina blank
He didn't change his mind, not that I expected him to, but if I could rewind time, I would have stayed put and helped him right from the start.
I'm not sure why I said Bible study; perhaps because small group, for a potential nonchurch goer, would make no sense.
Even though the units are indoors and temperature regulated, I thought the humidity might get to the photos.