I followed Tim on his business trip to Shanghai a couple of years ago. The apartment we stayed in had automatic locks and one morning, Tim had forgotten to take his umbrella with him because it was snowing heavily. Excited to help, I ran out of the apartment to pass the umbrella to him by the elevator. When I walked back to the apartment, I realised I had accidentally locked myself out.
Here's the thing about the apartment, the corridors had no heating, and unless you're in your unit, chances are you'll freeze. I had on me then a pair of tights, a t-shirt, a pair of ballerina pumps, and thankfully a phone! (and no key) I quickly called Tim to let him know that I was locked out, he came back, immediately tried to call the Airbnb owner and very very unfortunately, there was no answer. Tim waited for me for a good 20 minutes to try and reach him and figure something out. There was no chance I could go anywhere in the freezing winter without a coat on.
I told Tim he should head to his meeting which he was already late to, and I continued to reach the Airbnb host. My ballerinas were of no help in the -5 degree weather. I could feel my toes freezing, and the only thing that kept going through my mind were two things: that God will never burden a soul more than it can bear, and pain is always temporary.
I kept repeating that to myself. "Pain is temporary, pain is temporary" and just prayed a miracle would happen.
Then suddenly, I saw the neighbour's door opening, a lady in her fifties peeked out at me and went back in. A few minutes later, she peeked out at me again and went back in, this time she left her door ajar. About 5-10 minutes later she came out and invited me into her unit. Yes!!! Thank you God!!
She spoke no word of English, and we communicated via Google translator which as you all know isn't the best communication medium. I told her about my situation and she told me I could wait in her apartment. She turned on the heating for me, gave me a blanket, and I have never been more thankful.
She told me that she was preparing her apartment for a guest that she's hosting on Airbnb, it was a nice studio apartment, very neat, very cosy. Then she went into the kitchen and I could hear her speaking to someone over the phone.
Not too long later she passed her phone to me, it was her son on the other end. Her son spoke perfect English, and he told me that his mum is going to go out to look for a locksmith to help me with the door. No one has ever been more kind - and I don't even know her name. I kept thanking her in mandarin (and every time I did, I hoped I pronounced it right)
I waited for about half an hour until the lady returned with a locksmith. It only took him 2 minutes to unlock my door, I hugged the lady so tightly, thanked her profusely, and ran into my apartment. I called Tim to tell him I was OK, soaked my feet in warm water and stayed in bed with a headache and a bit of temperature from the cold.
It was incredibly nice of the lady to want to help me to the extent of walking out into the freezing cold weather (for half an hour) in search of a locksmith. Honestly, it's the kind of thing you would only find in movies.
I always see quotes being shared online about spreading kindness, and that's always just what they are, quotes. Like this one,
“Reach out and help others. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. Be a vessel, be the change, be the difference, or be the inspiration. Shine your light as an example. The world needs more of that.” - Germany Kent
But the lady who helped me truly lived by it and I am ever so thankful for her.
To that end, what's one nice thing someone has done for you?