At the doctor’s office the other day, I began chatting with a nice older lady named Mary.  She and I were the only two women in the waiting room wearing sensible shoes and carrying jigunda purses (some of us still say “handbags,” dearie.)  On the way out of the office afterwards, I saw Mary sitting by the door waiting for a service for seniors called “Dial-a-Ride” to pick her up.

“I could cancel it…” Mary said, as if to say she wanted me to give her a ride.  “Of course,” I said, although as a rule in New Jersey, we don’t offer strangers a ride.  It was raining and she needed a hand to get down the steps and into my car, so I held onto her arm and covered her with my hinky umbrella with the spoke sticking out.  We drove down the road for a while and she told me about her kids and grandkids, her friends and her church.

“Turn here!” Mary exclaimed at one point, only to realize it wasn’t her street.  “Oh, that’s not it.  I’m sorry.  Keep going.”  We took the “scenic route,” turning down one wrong street after another.  It was no problem, I told her.  I was in no hurry.

We finally arrived at her senior apartment complex and I gave Mary my card so she could call me if she ever needed a ride again.  I let her keep my hinky umbrella since she didn’t have one, and you would have thought I was handing her the Hope Diamond.  “This is so kind of you,” she said.  “Thank you so much.”

After I dropped off my new friend, I stopped at the supermarket. Shoppers milled about in the store’s bakery, and I wondered if they knew how blessed they were.  To be able to linger.  Savor.  Impulse shop.

I roamed the aisles, thinking about how quaint it was that Mary had dressed up for the doctor in her nice slacks and Sunday coat and how these small gestures of respect are often unnoticed. I thought about how little it really takes to make someone’s day.

I thought about the grace I’ve always taken for granted and the people in my life. And I thought about how blessed I’d been to help out a stranger and in the process, receive a reminder to count my blessings by name.  And that’s just what I did all the way home.