It was a pretty normal beginning to my Friday. By 6:30 am I was out the door with the mutts, letting Bodhi walk us around the neighbourhood in the dark, with a light rain falling. He is a curious soul and follows his nose, and we (Finn and I, and usually Finn's mom Julie) follow him. There was a moment about 30 minutes into the walk where I had a sense of foreboding, about nothing in particular. We were just in a dark laneway and intuition reared it’s head. I stayed alert but didn’t change direction.
Then it happened, both dogs eagerly leaned toward a bush (as they often do) and I thought it might be a cat so I braced myself and held on tight to the leashes, ready to drag them (especially Bodhi-the-cat-hater) away. Then I saw a flash of white and I reacted, but not quickly enough. Bodhi was hit by the spray, and he took one for Finn who managed to avoid it by being smaller and on the other side of B.
It was awful. Bodhi immediately dropped onto the grass and rolled frantically but to no avail. He was skunked, and my day was about to get interesting. We made our way home and I got right on the phone. Luckily (or Not) my friend Sophia and her dog Desi had a skunk incident on Monday and she shared the details with me. So I called around to various PetSmarts (they open early) begging for a spot for an enzyme bath for my 100 lb stinker. The thought of washing him and all that fur down with the recommended paste (hydrogen peroxided and baking soda - eewww!) felt like too much, so I figured I would leave it to the pros. Bodhi was due for a bath anyway.
I called 4 places and was told, “Sorry we open at 9 but we are full and cannot fit you in”. On the 5th try I got a person with a different way of doing things. She heard me, she thought for a moment, she put me on hold, and then she said, “Can you be here at 8?” Someone offered to come in early, before they were even officially open, so that my home and my poor dog would not have to smell like skunk all day. Someone realized they could do something different, that made sense, and that made someone’s day (mine). Someone took the time to do that. And they did it happily. As easy as it would have been to let it ruin my day I tried to see the positives. I took the opportunity while I was waiting for him to have breakfast, do some grocery shopping, etc rather than drive the 30 min back home and then back again to pick him up. I expressed my gratitude (in words and a tip) to the lovely folks at PetSmart for helping me. I thanked the goddess that I didn’t run out of gas on the way there (there was a very real chance that I would - ALWAYS fill up the car when the warning light comes on!). I was grateful that I didn’t have to cancel any appointments with clients in order to take care of B. But when it was over and I got home I felt the effects of the morning of chaos and driving across the city in a major downpour.
I recovered and went off to Physio and then to give blood. It was my first time, but definitely not my last. I had a wonderful experience there, talking with the staff and the volunteers and the other donors while we ate cookies and drank juice to replenish our bodies (giving blood is a great excuse to eat Oreos). I found out that Judy, who drew my blood, is a dog lover and has a son who lives on Haida Gwaii. I found out that Donor Ross who was in the chair across from me was being tested to see if he could give platelets so he could help more cancer patients. It felt good to connect with more amazing humans, especially after all the less pleasant (though important) conversations happening in the world right now. When I felt ready to drive I walked outside into the sunshine. And then realized quickly that row of cars I had parked in was empty. All gone. I had been towed.
Dejected, I walked back inside and told the security guard what had happened and asked if she knew which towing company I should call. She was incredibly helpful and sympathetic. I wanted to cry. Partly (probably) because I had just given blood and was tired. Partly (for sure) because of the chaos and drama of the morning. Partly because I felt it was mean of someone to tow my car while I was giving blood (not that the tow truck driver knew). The kind security guard called me a cab (because the taxi app wasn’t working and my phone was almost dead).
The taxi arrived and I was feeling very down. I got in and the driver asked me how I was and I said, “Not so good. I’ve had a challenging day and my car got towed while I was giving blood.” He was very empathetic. He didn’t try to make me feel better, he just understood and was “with me”. When we got to the impound lot, rather than just telling me how much I owed, he got out of the car and he came in with me. I wasn’t sure why but I just went with it. Much to my shock and surprise he went up the window where you pay and explained to the gentleman behind the glass that I was giving blood, doing a good thing, and could they give me a break on the towing fee. I was blown away. He was soft spoken and sincere and coming from a place of love. He was told, no, there was nothing they could do, unless we wanted to contact the supervisor. At that point I was just standing there in awe of this taxi driver. He took the phone number and called the supervisor and told me not to pay yet. He patiently waited while the phone on the other end rang and rang. After several minutes he gave up, albeit reluctantly. At that point I paid the towing charge ($145, plus a $60 ticket) and turned thank him again and to hand him a $20 bill for the ride. He refused my money. I insisted. He refused. I started to cry. This man, who knows nothing about me, took time out of his day to empathize, to take care of me, and to support and fight for me. I gave him a big hug, and held on and thanked him for being such a good human. Then we parted ways. As I walked out to the lot to get my car I realized I didn’t have my keys - they were in the cab. Was this day ever going to end?!? I ran back through the building and out front and found him in his cab. He hadn’t left. He was writing his name and number on a piece of paper to give me, in case I ever needed anything. I guess he was going to flag me down as I came out of the lot in my car, but there I was because the universe had left my keys in his car. I hugged him again, tears streaming down my face.
As I drove home I marveled at the goodness in the world. I saw the magnificent orange and red leaves on the trees. I saw the sun. I saw humans of all shapes and sizes going about their day. And I thought about how much love I had experienced today. Something compelled these people to be good humans, just because they can. That's leadership. I thought about all the beautiful humans I know, and I felt grateful and inspired. My cup is full.