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The Traveling Seed

Random Acts of Kindness

PORTUGAL | Tuesday, 6 January 2015 | Views [393] | Comments [1]

People never cease to amaze me. Travelers solidarity is one thing, having someone I never saw before hand me their car and say "take it, it will be faster than a taxi" is not something I would expect to happen in Lisbon. It just did.

I went to Indian Embassy to take care of my Visa this morning. 45 minutes before the door even opens and there were 20 people in line. Mixed crowd, half Indian, half Portuguese. After fifteen minutes  the guy in front of me needs to move his car from the spot he had parked and asks me to save his place. We pick up a conversation after he comes back and end up getting the same ticket number to take care of the Visa, 19.

He had printed out the form we had to fill online, I hadn't. I could swear there was no mention to it, but still ask the lady at the counter. I need the papers or they will not do anything. I rush outside to get a cab back home, not remembering if I had saved the form on my pc. I also didn't know where I could print it, if I found it in the first place. My heart was pumping.

As I was waiting for the cab the guy comes outside. He had to go withdraw cash. I had noticed the warning that they didn't take anything else, on the website, he hadn't. And that's when he tells me to take the car. He drives to the ATM and back to the embassy, I move from the passenger to the driver seat and take off with his car. And I didn't even knew his name yet. I knew he was going to India for a week to attend a friend's wedding, that he had studied in England, where he met said friend, that he worked in management and therefore couldn't take long holidays and that he had been traveling in Thailand for three weeks sometime in the past. He knew I was going to India for a month, that I was doing India's cup, that I sometimes wrote and that I had spent some time in South America. That was it. And now I was speeding with his car across Lisbon as he waited at the Embassy for "our" turn.

As I'm getting home I remember to ask a friend that works close by if she can print the  form. She can. I rush upstairs, find the document, send it over to her and run back to the car. She's going to be at the corner of her street so it is easier to hand over the papers, but she hasn't arrived. I have a tram behind me and can't stop the car. I drive around maneuvering  Lisbon's downtown only way streets as she tries to walk in my direction. Between all of this it's been almost an hour since I left the Embassy. I'm thinking the guy must be worried I took off with his car, or had an accident. I would...hell I wouldn't have even handed over the car like that.

When I make it back he is seated at the end of the room. Numbers are on 14. I made it in time. He hands me a hard cover book titled "Índia Splendor Intemporal". "They were giving them away, I saved one for you because everyone was grabbing a bunch." I seat next to him and go through the colorful pictures, as we talk about how slow everything is moving, our jobs and other trips. Somewhere in that conversation I learn his name is Guilherme.

Half an hour later only two numbers have been called. He decides to go and get croissants at a famous cafe close by. I keep his things.

The lady calls out V19 before he comes back. I take everything with me. He arrives in the meantime. The lady doesn't have change for him, I give her the 2 euro needed. It takes five minutes to get everything done.

We walk out. He tells me he can drop me off down the road, closer to the bus stops. We're going to opposite directions. As we say goodbye I thank him, once again. We realize I hadn't even told him my name. I say it, and tell him about this blog, in case he wants to follow my adventure in the country that brought us together this morning. I walk out of car and he drives off.

Tags: india, kindness, lisbon, people, visas

Comments

1

the random kindness of strangers is probably one of the main reasons why I still travel after all those years. Greetings from Jordan, from the house of Bedouine family who offered me a place to stay and knowing nothing about who I am just adopted into their hearts.

  ephemeral Jun 11, 2015 3:24 AM

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