Erie IS Kind
I still consider myself fairly new to Erie, because I moved here just before the pandemic hit and was instructed by my docs to stay home, due to my body's lung/autoimmune mishegas, as well as the chemo meds I was regularly enjoying. So, fast forward to a car-totaling accident on my way home from UCHealth Anschutz. (Separate story under the heading of "Cautionary Tales.") Luckily, no one was hurt. Months later, I was able to get another great old Subie - but like me, it had issues, and I wasn't sure it was safe to drive. I pulled into Steve Harringer's place, and the nice guy in the shop led me back into Steve's lair (office.) His initial responses were short, and there was no smile. I thought maybe he just saw me as that weird, whiny snowflake. He asked me why I was there and when I told him, he instructed the nice shop guy to check out my car and then, to give it a quick fix. Meanwhile, I sat with Steve, asked him questions, listened to his answers. And... as we talked and shared experiences, the little smile came - and boy, was it worth the wait. I don't know how long I was there. I kind of lost track of time. When I asked him how much I owed him, he refused to take any money. I was uncomfortable with that, but he was insistent, and even though I had just met him, I got the sense you did not argue with Steve, once he had made a decision. I knew he wasn't feeling too well, and I had already taken so much of his time. So, I thanked him and drove away in a car that was safe - because of the kindness of Steve towards a whiny, weird snowflake. As I drove, I wondered how I could repay his kindness in the future, not knowing the time for that would be short. I guess it's just another cautionary tale, and I suppose generating those is one of my superpowers.
The lesson I took from his passing was: It's not enough to want to be kind. Make time, take time to be kind to others. Do it now, while you can.
An ancillary lesson was: Kindness can take all forms and come from unexpected places.
And lastly: Regardless of our beliefs, kindness can bind us. (Can you say that 10 times fast?)