On a cool Tuesday in late November of last year, I dropped the kids off at kinder and care, then dropped my car off at the dealership to be serviced, then hopped on the courtesy bus into the CBD.
(THRILLING OPENING. I’M HOOKED. TELL ME MORE.)
I had booked two client meetings that day, and had sandwiched a lunch between them with online friend and hopefully-soon-to-be-real-life friend Rebecca from Seeing the Lighter Side.
I got off the courtesy bus on Collins Street. I thanked the bus driver. He smiled and waved, and I walked off for my first meeting.
Except I didn’t walk off. I took a few steps and fell over.
Except I didn’t just fall over. I smashed my knee. My right knee. The bad posterior cruciate ligament knee.
It was bad. It was so bad that my first thought wasn’t the usual Oh my goodness I can’t believe I just fell over in public hahahahahaha start laughing it’s funny pretend it’s not embarrassing quick now people are looking hahahahahaha. It was MY KNEE MY KNEE HOLY CRAP MY KNEE MY KNEE OW OW OW MY KNEE MY KNEE WAAAAAAH.
A couple walking past immediately rushed to my assistance. “Are you all right?”
I tried to shrug it off and laugh at my lack of coordination, but a sob came out instead. I couldn’t put any weight on my leg and they could see the pain reflected in my face. “Come on. We’ll help you up.”
They carried-slash-dragged me over to a nearby seat and waited while I wiped the tears (and mascara) from my face. I eventually managed to tell them that I’d just hopped off the courtesy bus from the car dealership and should probably just get back on it.
They looked to see that the bus was still there, and ran over to flag the driver. He came over, and the three of them helped me back onto the bus. Then the couple who had helped me left.
THANK YOU NUMBER ONE (AND TWO): Thank you, lovely helpful couple walking by the Regent Theatre last November. The recap above is short, but I took up at least 20 minutes of your day, and you didn’t once glance at your watches or show the slightest bit of annoyance at being inconvenienced. Your concern and assistance for someone whose name you didn’t even know was (and still is) touching.
The bus driver helped me hobble to the backseat of the bus so I could put my leg up. He expressed concern for my torn jeans before I assured him that distressed denim was so hot right now. When a wave of nausea hit me, he shrugged and said to just do whatever needed to be done, and that he’d clean the bus later. He drove so slowly, so carefully, back to the car dealership.
He helped me inside, then went back to the bus to collect my shoes and bag. He asked if there was anyone I could call, or if he could arrange a cab. When I had called my husband to tell him of the (latest) mishap, and knew how long I’d be at the dealership, he continued to check on me over the course of the day.
THANK YOU NUMBER THREE: Thank you, Gary (Garry? Your name tag had one spelling, your business card the other) the courtesy bus driver. You went above and beyond in helping me that day, and I’m extremely grateful. Your primary concerns throughout the whole thing weren’t the bus, the schedule nor getting through your shift, but me, my safety and my comfort. Four months on, I still appreciate it.
At the dealership, the manager/supervisor/first aid person came over to see what was wrong. Despite my insistence that he need not do anything because I hadn’t sustained the injury on the premises, he set to work. He provided anti-bac swabs for the grazes, an ice pack for my knee, and even some brightly coloured bandaids to ensure my kids would think I was cooler than the average unco, Booboo. He helped me elevate the leg, and made sure I was comfortable.
He asked if I was hungry, and when I said that I was fine, he nodded and left. He returned half an hour later with a sandwich, fruit, juice and a chocolate bar from a nearby café. And the dealership’s wifi password.
He continued to check in on me throughout the day, and called the following day to see how I was faring.
THANK YOU NUMBER FOUR: Thank you, manager/supervisor/first aid person whose name escapes me but who had a lovely set of piercing blue eyes and a calming manner. Together with Gary/Garry, you made me feel less embarrassed about the whole thing, and were at pains to assure me I wasn’t a burden. I still feel like an unco idiot, but that’s because I am one, not because you treated me that way!
The moral of the story: injuring your knee sucks. But injuring your knee while surrounded by kind, helpful strangers who only have your comfort and safety in mind sucks much less.
Crutches, on the other hand, still suck.
Fortunately, they weren’t around for long, and I was back in heels by Christmas. Priorities.
(Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my clients were very understanding about the rescheduled meetings, and Rebecca and I rescheduled AND upgraded our lunch to a night out for dinner and Ghost the Musical!)
When have you benefited from the kindness of strangers? Or badly injured yourself while walking in a straight line on a flat surface?
(You might also like to read The kindness of strangers – part two.)