Everyday is filled with spectacular moments. Seek them! – Laila Gifty Akita
The gift of inertia that rescues a speeding but stalled motorbike and eases it to the curb.
A hand-drawn marauder’s map, guiding a wayward soul to buried treasure.
A tow-truck push from a kind stranger, rescuing the one who doesn’t know his way.
An unheralded, astonishing lane, hidden in plain sight, drenched in wonder.
Am I really here
What’s wrong with your bike?
I’m shaken from my daydream, lost, as the mechanic twists wires and rebuilds connections, by nearly flawless English.
What happened to your bike?
I look down at the face of a girl, no more than 8, peering up at me, to the bike, then back at me.
Oh, sorry! I don’t know, but it’s not running any more.
Do you know what happened?
Well, I got into an accident the other day with my son, and then today it stopped working.
Are you okay?
Yep, I’m fine.
She notices my badge and her eyes light up.
You work at the school! I have a friend there! I have a friend there!
She dances, just a bit.
We banter back and forth, she’s filled with questions. I share a bit about what grade I teach, and she asks after my son.
He’s okay. I was the only one who got hurt, a bit.
I show her my road rash, she grimaces.
I’m okay though.
Her mom returns, a bag of fresh greens in hand. She explains in rapid Vietnamese what I assume is my life story. Her mom smiles and nods at me. And as they prepare to leave she adds
My name is Xiang
Nice to meet you, Xiang
Nice to meet you too. I’m glad you’re okay.
And, like that, she’s gone, pixie dust trailing her wake.
I’m struck, just a little, by magic that has happened, on Ngo 38, here, today.
By kindnesses shown to a random stranger, help found, when needed, from others. By what is now, clearly, a pattern of goodness
I don’t think this is unusual for Vietnamese. And the more I travel, I find that this is not unusual for humans. A sense of sharing, of kindness, a willingness
I see you
are you okay
how can I help
And how sometimes, small humiliation compels us to better reach, and then share, our humanity.
To remind ourselves, that when we step back off the curb, take in what is before our eyes, and extend our hand
we make magic