Chivalry Lives!
Posted on May 5, 2014

It was a dark and drizzly evening when I finished a class at Marble. To compound the gloom, I had somehow twisted my back and the thought of all those subway stairs was not inviting. So, I decided, let's take a cab home. To the corner I went.

The first free one that I flagged took one look at me, decided that I was undesirable for some reason, and sped onward after briefly slowing down. The second one stopped, but before I could grab the door handle, a young man leaped in from the other side and it took off. Not meant to be, I began to think. That is where chivalry arrived.

Two young women, 19 or 20, had been sharing my street corner waiting for the light to change. At the second loss, they took action. One of them joined me in semaphoring for a cab. When a third taxi stopped, the other girl planted herself in front of it so that it could not leave until I got in.

"This one is yours," she proclaimed triumphantly.

I thanked them both and they waved merrily as I took off. They might have been ex-Girl Scouts doing their good deed, but their actions certainly warmed my heart and took me back to what makes life worth living.

It is all those little things, isn't it? Just as small problems upset us more than the huge ones, it is the tiny discourtesies that most infuriate. I don't know why, but I have ample evidence that it is true. Wasn't it Henry David Thoreau who wrote about the gossamer wings of the fly on the train tracks derailing the locomotive? I know what he meant.

If small rudenesses upset, it is the little unheralded acts of kindness that can brighten a very dark evening. I have thought of and prayed for those two girls ever since. I hope they had fun wherever they were headed.

Their memory has pushed aside that of the man who "stole" my cab. Instead, I have thought: "Sir Galahad, move over. My two Lady Galahads have replaced you!"


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