Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Kindness Of A Stranger

I think Maine has always been one of my favorite states. I love New England in the summer and autumn months, and when the opportunity to go to the northernmost state in the region presented itself, I knew I had to go. With only one full day to really explore Portland, which is on the southeastern coast of Maine, I hoped that the weather would be pleasant enough for sailing. When I heard raindrops hitting the windows of my hotel room that morning, I had to replace these plans with tours through the Portland Museum of Art, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home and the Victoria Mansion. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the tumultuous history of Portland, and getting lost (and drenched) in its quirky streets.

As great as all of these tourist attractions were, it was my brief meeting with a friendly waitress at a well-known neighborhood restaurant that I will remember most. From the moment Kelly seated me and my parents at our table, we felt a genuine connection to her that was anything but fake. She introduced us to some unique local produce, told us about upcoming events and places of interest in Portland, and gave us directions by drawing simple street maps on some note paper. Kelly went out of her way to give us advice without any benefit on her part, and that is quite rare. By the time I went back to the hotel that evening, I almost forgot about the rain and my failed plans to sail.

There is something to be said about the kindness of strangers, especially when traveling. I hope to meet more people like Kelly in my future sojourns. Have any of you had a similar experience? I would love to hear your comments.

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