Angels are preached about on Sunday, I know, but what I encountered this past Wednesday renews my faith in them.
This story begins at the Newton Wal-Mart parking lot. I had stopped by for a few groceries and as I walked to the entrance, I heard a wailing sound—a cat in distress. I looked over along the edge of the lot—a black kitten was crouched near a small bush. Maybe she’ll be gone when I return to my car. Maybe she’s just my imagination, I told myself.
Not fifteen minutes later, I emerged from the store. She was still wailing beside the bush—a meow every five seconds. Obviously the cat had strayed from home. More likely she was dumped by her owner. One thing was certain: she wouldn’t survive long near the busy 321 Bypass.
I had no business taking on a cat. I wanted to ignore her pitiful calls. I wanted someone else to “do something.” Instead, I walked over there to see what I could do.
It was a hot afternoon and the cat was black. No wonder she was panting when I approached her. She was half grown, alone, scared. Thin, no doubt hungry and thirsty. She didn’t appear hurt. She purred mightily. I picked her up.
And then the impossible happened. A maroon-colored car drove up, and a young man with glasses stuck his head out of the driver’s window. “I love cats,” he said, his arms outstretched.
“I can’t keep her,” I said. “It’s a nice kitty, but we have dogs and we’re going out of town.”
“Well,” he smiled. “My wife might kill me for bringing another animal home. If we can’t keep it, I’ll take it to the humane society.”
And so I handed the kitty to the young man. He smiled. And then the Good Samaritan drove away.
It reminded me of a time fifteen years ago, on the way to work when I came upon a little poodle that had been hit along Settlemyre Bridge Road. The dog was alive and bleeding.
I stopped, got out of my car, dodged drivers who horned at me to get out of their way. I scooped up the dog. He didn’t snap or try to bite, which was a small miracle. Then, as I turned toward my car, wondering what I was going to do next, a car pulled to the side of the road. A woman got out and said “I’ll take the dog. I’m on the way to the emergency vet clinic in Hickory.”
Within seconds, she was on her way. I didn’t get her name or her license plate number. I was too stunned. I remember walking into work that morning with blood on my forearms, tears in my eyes for what I’d just seen—something more than a coincidence.
What are the odds that a lady will happen by on her way to the emergency vet clinic? What are the odds a young man will stop in his tracks and say, “I’ll take that stray kitten off your hands?”
Both instances occurred seconds after I had picked up a distressed animal. Both times willing hands came to my rescue, and I’m grateful for that.
Was it sheer luck or something more? All I know is that both times my simple action was seen by someone else, who then stopped to help.
What we do matters. People are watching.