No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop
July 2002 I was running fast and far from everything. One afternoon I was off to a secluded beach. I’d been there many times before in summers past, in company.
The stones, the dust clouds and the sea cliff. I knew them all by heart. Speed can be numbing.
I was going fast. Invincibly fast. Way too fast…
Danger is an addictive, a relief. Scratch an itch.
An enormous sound and the car began veering out of control. The front tyre had struck something sharp.
Fear took control.
I found myself wedged on a miraculous slice of earth somewhere between the mountain and the sea.
Arms aching, temples pounding, body sweating excess adrenaline.
I could only wait for someone to lend me a hand.
It was nearly comic.
The sun was high in the sky.
A Volkswagen bus slowly winding its way along the dusty road in the distance.
Thank God somebody who can help me I thought.
A weathered man with elbow perched on the open window pulled up next to me.
“Can you give me a hand?” I whispered.
As he opened the door, I saw he only had one.
A one-handed Greek.
He stared at me just as kindly. “Got a spare?”
This guy was actually going to help me.
I fumbled in the trunk for the tyre and the axle. He taught me how to raise the car, unscrew the bolts, and change the tyres.
With each passage he defied his handicap.
I’d been desperate to get to the most remote place, fast and far from everything.
Instead I’d been taken to the most unexpected place of all. Humanity.
With one hand, Vassily, the fisherman, had changed everything.
He changed me.
He mounted the bus, placed his elbow on the open window and called out to me.
“Now slow down and enjoy the sea.”
So I did. :-)
Photography by Thierry Ledé