The Good Samaritan

Today was a beautiful, sunny day in Seattle, which isn’t in and of itself an odd thing. But being that it was November 3, it was a stunner.

This afternoon I had planned to attend a paper show sponsored by Neenah Paper. Every now and then, various paper mills put together shows and events for graphic designers, packaging specialists and others who specify paper for myriad projects.

In this case, Neenah chose BalMar, a very cool watering hole in an area of Seattle people refer to as Old Ballard.

Being directionally challenged, naturally I got lost. Even with an iPhone in hand (GPS was in another car) I managed to find myself near the Ballard Locks — clearly not near the venue.

I pulled in to a Taco TIme parking lot and was ready to walk in to ask someone where Ballard Avenue NW was? But I saw a guy walking on the sidewalk toward me, so I jumped out of my car and said, “Excuse me, but do you know where Ballard Avenue is?”

He took out his smart phone and started showing me maps, and tried to describe where I needed to go. But to be honest, I didn’t really “get” what he was talking about.

I asked him where he was headed? And he said, “No place in particular. I’m on a walk, doing a loop.” So I asked if he’d be willing to get in my car and show me?

He said “Sure. You don’t exactly look dangerous!”

So we drove back up the same street, looped around a one-way street (side note: there are entirely too many one-way streets here), and while we were driving I asked him (his name is Eric) if he’d like to go to the paper show with me since my other friend wasn’t going to be able to make it, and he said, “OK, why not?”

We found a parking spot not far from the destination.

I was planning to meet two members of the “Sansei Lunch Club,” but one of them couldn’t make it. As it was, I was arriving 15 minutes later than expected, so when Eric, my good Samaritan, and I jumped out of my car, Glen (one of the people I was going to meet) was walking toward us — paper samples in tow.

I introduced Glen to Eric, then told Glen the story of meeting Eric.

Glen looked incredulous, but knowing me, I don’t think he was terribly surprised. (I’ve been known to make friends standing in line at the post office.) Glen said he’d walk with us back to BalMar, and on the way I said, Hey, can I take a picture of you guys and tweet it later?

Glen suggested it might make a bit more sense if HE took a picture of me with Eric, and Eric agreed it did seem to make more sense. So Eric and I stood while Glen shot this:

Inside BalMar, we checked out the various new lines and products and viewed some terrific samples show the papers in use while chatting with the paper reps there. Then I noticed a promo for people with QR readers to enter to win a new car. So I entered, then asked Eric if he had a QR reader (he did) and encouraged him to enter, too.

I had this crazy thought: What if Eric wins the car?

There was a beautiful spread of food and and drinks, but knowing I had dinner plans, I drank my glass of water and was on my way — but not before giving my business card to Eric so I could email him this photo.

It was so utterly random, yet was one of the most fun things to happen to me in a while. It felt good to know perfect strangers can still trust one another, and for once, getting lost really made my day.

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