30 Days of Indie Travel-Day 5…KINDNESS
BootsnAll are talking about kindness (of strangers or otherwise) that we have experienced on our travels.
The taxi dropped us off outside the building with “San Diego Gas and Electricity” written on it in bold, imposing letters.
“This is a little big to be an office”, I thought as we made our way to the entrance. It was the summer of 2010 and we had just rented an apartment short-term in San Diego. It was no-frills. No frills being no furniture or heat. The letting agency said we needed to go in person to SDG&E to get our electricity turned on so we google-mapped it and set off to get it over with.
Shortly after we arrived at our destination we realised that we had, in fact, come to SDG&E’s headquarters. Kind of the equivalent of going to the Whirlpool factory to buy a washing machine. They couldn’t help us here.
The sun was beating down on the footpath as we waited, sweating, for another taxi to come retrieve us. Public transport was not an option because we were a no man’s land for buses.
Located in an industrial park, the HQ was surrounded by other grim-looking factories and buildings out of which employees streamed on lunchbreak. They passed us, staring intently at us and wondering what in the hell we were doing there. Did I mention we had all our bags with us? Yeah. There’s conspicuous and then there’s four girls sitting on roller suitcases wearing board shorts and flipflops in the middle of an industrial zone.
One man stopped to assess the situation, curiosity obviously killing him. We told him the situation and he leaned against a bollard and laughed for what seemed like several days. He walked on, where from a distance we could see him pointing back to us at regular intervals and laughing. Great. We were water-cooler fodder.
Back in the taxi, we decided to go to the nearest Western Union/Post office as they could process payments for gas and electricity there. We figured we would compell them to set everything up there.
We ended up in a slightly rough part of town, the nearest place being located there. You can usually gauge the situation by how many “Bail bonds” and “Pay Day loan” services there are within a square mile. We noted way more than average. The guy passed out on the ground outside the office may have been another indication.
Seeking respite in the cramped office, we set about our task. Tired, stressed and feeling more than a little stupid, we just wanted the paperwork to be over so we could move into our apartment.
The lady behind the desk turned out to be our saviour. Beaming and blonde, she had everything sorted in minutes. As we made our way out the door, she ran after us saying she had just taken her break because she wanted to give us free tickets for the USS Midway tour. Her husband worked there and she thought, as we were new to the city, we might like it.
This small, random and unexpected act of kindness was probably nothing to this woman. To us, though, it really lifted our spirits and made a pretty dreary day a lot brighter.