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The Samaritan
November, 2004

I’ve read several stories about Samaritans who have helped complete strangers in their hours of need. I experienced two such incidents that lead me to believe that they do exist, though they may be very few in number.

The first incident took place in 2003 in India. It was winter and my father was in comma, frequently requiring suction to pull out the phlegm and his oxygen level had to be constantly monitored. It was the middle of the night and suddenly the light went off. All equipments started beeping. Now, the place we live has provision for uninterrupted power supply. But when the power did not come for about 5-6 minutes, I ran out in pitch darkness to get the generator switched on from the security guard.

“Well, the generator is running. Things seem to be fine at our end. There seems to be an electrical problem.”

“But who will come in the middle of the night.”

“That I don’t know. All I can do is to give you their telephone number.”

“Thanks. I’ll try.”

I called up the electricity department, hoping that someone picks up the phone. Most times they don’t in the night. Luckily, someone picked up the phone. I explained him my situation. The guy listened patiently and said he would do something. I had a serious doubt he would actually do but kept my fingers crossed.

After about 10 minutes, which were passed praying and literally on the verge of tears, the doorbell rang. The guy from the electric division had kept his promise!

Another incident that lead me to believe in the existence of such rare Samaritans occurred on December 02, 2004. Tired after a long day of work, a visit to my radiologist, having lost my way trying to locate an address because of traffic diversion, I was returning home from the office.

I had been living with friends in New Jersey for the last two months and used to take Route 130 to commute. There was an accident on this route because of rainfall and the traffic was being diverted. The detour signs had not been put up yet. I am very bad with directions and get upset when required to follow new routes. I decided to follow the traffic. The road we followed divided into three ahead, the Ridge road on the right and Dayton on the left. After a brief contemplation on which route to take, I followed the traffic in the left lane. The road divided again after a couple of miles. I kept driving straight ahead.

It was as if I was almost passing through a jungle with no visible signs of any construction. I saw a jeep with its blinker on, parked on the right side of the road. I stopped my car in front of the jeep and approached the jeep. It was a woman, talking to someone on her cell. She rolled down her driver’s seat window.

“What’s the matter?”

“Well, there was an accident on route 130 and the traffic was diverted. I followed a bunch of cars but it seems as if I’m lost. Could you guide me to get back onto route 130 South?

“Hmmm… Let me see. Do you have any idea at all of this area.”

“None. I’m just aware of route 130.”

“Do you know Cranbury or Hightstown?”

“Yes. If I can reach one of these places, I will know my way from there on.”

“Okay. But I don’t know how to explain it to you. It is very confusing and you won’t be able to find your way out. No. Not an easy job unless you know this area well.”

She must have seen the look of distress cross my face. “Let me speak to my brother.”

She spoke to her brother briefly while I stood outside her car, mentally tracing the route I had followed so that I can retreat, if need be, and wait for route 130 to get cleared.

“Okay. I spoke to by brother. He was also held up for long because of this accident. He also agrees it’s not easy to get back to route 130 from where you are. Here is what I’ll do. It’s a long distance to 130. I’ll drive for about 2 miles in front of you and after we have made all major twists and turns, I’ll stop at some convenient place from where, hopefully, I’ll be able to explain you the way to 130.”

I nodded.

“Okay, then follow me.”

I got into my car and followed my Samaritan who whizzed past and I desperately followed. True to what she had said, there were many lefts and rights and after a jig jag of about 20 minutes, during which I held my breath, She stopped at an isolated spot. I stopped too. The lady got out of her car and walked towards me.

“Now, listen very carefully. Drive straight for about 3 miles till you hit a Stop sign. Take a left from there and drive for about 2 miles till you hit red light. This will put you back onto route 130 South."

I nodded.

“Let me repeat. Drive straight till the first Stop sign. You can either make a left or a right. You have to make a left and then drive straight to get onto route 130. Got it?”

“Yes. I drive straight for about 3 miles. Then, I take a left at the Stop sign and go straight for about 2 miles till I hit a red light.”

“That’s right. Best of luck.”

“Thanks. Thank you very much. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“When I spoke to my brother, Jim, he also agreed that there was no way you could get back onto 130 unless you knew this road very well. He suggested that I drive with you till this point.”

“Thanks for all your help. I’m really grateful.”

“Not a problem, honey. You take care now.”

And she walked back to her car and drove off. I drove in the midst of trees and darkness. I encountered three deer on my way, standing on the edge of the road. I drove slowly, careful not to hit any deer on my way and heaved a sign of relief when I finally saw the Stop sign. I took a left and continued driving. There was not a single car on the way. It seemed as if I had been driving for almost an hour. Then, I saw a red light and heaved another sigh of relief. I had reached route 130 South. I would never have made it without the help from that unknown Samaritan.

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