12 novembre, 2007

Random act of kindness in France...say whaaaaaa?


I find in France that it's so easy to be negative and let the bad stories be the ones you remember. I personally try to fight this temptation by thinking of how lucky I am to be back here again and how if I were in the states, I would be longing to be in France and dwelling on all the negative things at home. That works about 0.5% of the time as I still clearly delve into the negative by boring you all to tears here on my blog. My place to vent out all my frustrations. Oh, the stories I could tell of rudeness, selfishness and mean-spiritedness(is that a word?) I don't like being so negative, I really don't.

Just this past weekend, my (anglo) friend was moving into a new apt with her bf and so she had to carry a lot of stuff. At one point, she and the bf were carrying their fridge which was super heavy and awkward. She told me that as they were approaching the elevator, a man walked by and made a snide comment about how girls shouldn't be carrying such heavy things. Then he continued on his merry way without stopping to help or hold the elevator door for them. What was the point of his comment? To take a dig at her bf for having her, a girl, be carrying such a heavy thing? To take a dig at her for not knowing she shouldn't be carrying something heavy as she's a girl? Rudeness for no reason, I guess. If that same story took place at home, I just know that most likely it would start with a polite comment and end with that same man helping to carry the fridge.

I remember three years ago when I went to London to visit friends right before Christmas break when I was going to go home and had an enormous suitcase, a carry-on, my laptop and a big purse. I was in the tube struggling down the stairs on the way to my friend's place after having just gotten in from Paris where I had drug my bags up and down tons of metro stairs. I was exhausted and I'm sure it showed. I only had to go down a few steps before a father and son came by and without even thinking about it, said "let me help you, love"(or something British to that effect) and grabbed both my bags and took them all the way down to the bottom of the stairs. I thanked them tremendously and they just smiled and shrugged it off. I really was so grateful for their help as I was very tired after NO ONE had helped me at all in the Paris metros. It was something that they did not need to do, but they saw I was struggling, their hands were free and they were also stronger than me.

This all brings me to what happened today. I was coming back from the grocery store with a big, heavy bag and my 9 liters of water and definitely struggling. Normally I put my sac cabas on my shoulder and carry it like a purse and, if I have water, I carry it in front of me like a bebe. But, this time, my bag was so heavy that I had that in one hand slicing the skin off my fingers(it felt like it at least) and then I had the water in my other hand slowly breaking my hand off at the wrist. My apt isn't that far from the store, but it sure felt like it with all those heavy things. I saw someone walk past me and then turn around to make a comment. I thought immediately that I would have a similar story to share with my friend when he said "that's heavy, huh?" But instead of walking away with a smirk planted on his face, he said "do you want me to help you carry that until the stoplight?" Como se dice, 'huh'? That's right, folks, this man who was probably 65+ offered out of sheer selflessness to carry my heavy stuff for me. And he was totally nice chatting about the weather, how everyone's sick now, etc, etc. I don't know how many times I thanked him and, despite this, he acted like it was no biggie. We exchanged a bonne journee and an au revoir and we went our separate ways. I bet he would never guess that something so simple, so selfless would make this americaine's day! Who woulda thunk?

3 commentaires:

Victoria a dit…

aw...i'm glad you had a positive story to share.
btw, last summer i was in the metro with my big, clunky suitcase with a broken wheel and a young Frenchman helped me carry my bag up the metro stairs...

Samantha a dit…

are you sure he was french? haha, JUST KIDDING, i know that was a low blow.

what always helps me is to remember that they weren't raised with the idea of "putting yourself in someone else's shoes". helping is saved for friends & family, not for complete strangers. or at least that's i tell myself when no one offers to help me out, LOL.

Leah a dit…

Victoria-Yeah, like I was saying, it's easy to just constantly dwell on the negative stories. And I'm not saying nice French people don't exist because I have French friends and I wouldn't be friends with them, obviously, if they weren't nice. But, I just wish that a nice story like that didn't stand out so much to me in my mind because that tells you something right there...

And, Sam, I can't say I didn't think about that joke too, but in case any of my French friends that speak English read this, I wouldn't want to be thhaaaat mean. It's true what you're saying about strangers vs. friends, but I still find it too bad.