All my life I’ve been a big advocate of acts of kindness. I’ve always said you can never know just how much difference even a simple act can make.
Then one day I learned how right I had been ....
I was having a tough week looking for a job, and on the spur of the moment I decided to go for a drive to clear my head.
I headed out of town, thinking I’d visit a nearby town that had a botanical garden, but as I approached the turn-off, I saw a car in the ditch.
The engine was smoking, so I pulled over and ran to the car. I tried the front door, and it was stuck. I looked inside, and it looked like the driver had taken the steering wheel straight in the face. I then heard a groan, and tried the back door,
Inside, I found a man who looked like he was maybe in his forties or early fifties, and it was obvious that he hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt when the crash occurred, but he was still alive.
Thanking my lucky stars I had remembered to take my cell phone with me, I quickly called 9-1-1, and told them about the accident. I told them where we were, and the condition of the two men as best as I could see it, and waited for help to arrive.
While I was waiting, the man in the back seat opened his eyes, looked at me, and asked, “Are you an angel?”
I tried not to laugh, but I couldn’t quite prevent myself from smiling at that. I replied, “No, and if you’re lucky you wont meet one today.”
He must have been pretty confused, as he said, “You’re beautiful” and then passed out.
I thought that might be bad, so I starting talking to him, saying “Wake up. What’s your name?”
He woke up, and mumbled, “M... Mark”
“Well, stay with me, Mark. Help is on the way.”
I would have kept going like that, but just then I heard the sounds of sirens, and knew the professionals would be there soon.
And then I started getting nervous.
Because no matter what the guy from the car may have thought, I’m not an angel. I’m fifty years old, overweight ...
Worse, I am at at awkward point in my transition where I am living as a woman but my I.D. says I’m a man.
Fortunately, I live in a place where the majority of people who have met me respond with a shrug. It’s not “acceptance” per se, it’s more like “I’m too busy with my own stuff to spend time hating you”.
Despite this history, I was rather glad when the police took my information (including my preferred name as well as my legal one) without batting an eye while the EMT’s loaded up the passenger and the driver of the car into their ambulance.
He even offered me a lift to the hospital to make sure I was okay and not in shock or anything, but I declined, saying I was going to go home and have a good soak and a cup of tea.
Once the ambulance was gone and the policeman was finished with me, I did exactly that, but “relaxing” came hard for me as I kept thinking about the passenger of the car and him calling me beautiful.
Eventually, I did go to sleep that night, but I dreamed of him, and in the dream this time I had been forced to give him CPR, which dissolved into us just plain kissing.
Needless to say, I was a bit ... flustered by the time I woke up ....
Over the next while I tried to get back into my normal routine, and while I didn’t forget what had happened, I did push it to the back of my mind while I tried to handle my day to day life.
Until a letter arrived in the mail, which brought the whole episode back to me.
It was from the office of the mayor of my city. It said that my “heroism” had been submitted for a civic award, and as a result I was being invited to city hall to be honored.
At first, I didn’t want to go. I liked being mostly under the radar, just trying to live my life as best as I could without making a big deal about it, but then I realized that I couldn’t remember there ever being a local trans person making the news for a good reason. I decided I had an obligation to go, if only because we could use all the positive role models we could get in the trans community.
So I started making phone calls and leaving emails for my friends and family, and looked up a local beauty school figuring that would be the cheapest way to get a makeover for the event.
Once I made a booking for the morning of the ceremony, I then went to second hand stores and consignment shops and thrift shops, looking for a “formal” style outfit. I was just about to give up and try more expensive stores when I got lucky and found a pretty baby-blue dress that actually fit me, and then splurged by buying some low heeled shoes to go with it.
Time passed with agonizing slowness, but finally, it was the day of the ceremony. I went to the beauty collage for my makeover, and they were not only remarkably okay with me as a trans woman, they managed to make me look me look better than I could have ever had hoped for.
Once I was done, I made my way to city hall for the ceremony. Once there, I was met by an assistant to the mayor, who told me where to wait until I was called. She also told me that once the mayor had spoken, the man whose life I saved would also say a few words, and then introduce me.
I managed to contain my nervousness until the mayor introduced the man I had helped.
And once I realized who he was, it was all I could do to keep from fainting.
My town wasn’t poor or anything, but still it wasn’t known for its multi-millionaires, except Mark Richards. He was a classic “local boy makes good”, and had turned a small family restaurant into an international chain, and yet refused to live somewhere else.
As he began to speak, I remembered that he had more or less retired a few years back after the sudden death of his wife, leaving the family business in the hands of his son, but had still contributed to several local charities, including one that helped LGBT kids.
It was only because I remembered his involvement in that charity I didn’t try and sneak away.
Then he called my name, and I managed to come out onto the stage without falling over.
I accepted my award, let people take pictures of me and eventually, the whole show was over. The mayor and his assistants left, most of the reporters followed suit, and I went “backstage” to get my coat.
I was almost ready to go when I heard Mark calling my name from behind me.
I turned, and noticed that for a guy I had never seen look anything other than totally confident, he actually seemed a touch nervous as he said, “I hope you don’t find all this stuff a little ... over the top. I just wanted to make sure you got thanked for helping me.”
“Well, to be honest, I’m not sure I deserve quite this much attention for just calling 9-1-1 for you.”
“You also kept me from falling back into unconsciousness by talking to me, remember.”
“I guess there is that.” I said, smiling.
“Listen. I ... dont want you to feel obligated, or anything, but I’d like to at least give you my card, and you could call me sometime.”
“Call ... you?” I stammered. “But why would you want me to ...” I stopped, and I looked at him, and suddenly realized what he was doing. Back when I was still trying my best to be a guy, I had attempted to ask girls out - which of course never went anywhere because I was carrying this huge secret about my gender. And now the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak, and I was the one being asked out.
“I’m ... flattered. But surely a man like you has no shortage of possible companions.”
“Maybe, but you’re the one I have been unable to stop thinking about.”
I smiled at that, and held out my hand. “I’ll take the card. But no promises, for now.”
“No promises, and no pressure.” He smiled and gave me the card.
I went home, found a good place to put my award, and sat and looked at the card.
Finally, I left it on the table, made myself a light supper, and went to bed.
Yes, eventually I did call, and we did go out on a couple of dates.
I dont know if we’re going to be serious or not, we’re taking it slow, learning about each other, and have become good friends (but no “benefits” if you know what I mean).
Thanks to his recommendation, I was able to find a good job, and he gave me a membership at my local YMCA so I can swim as a way to help me lose the weight I’ll need to in order to get the surgery.
And all because I took a moment to help someone in trouble.
So if you get a chance to do some good, take it!
You might end up the one getting the reward ...
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