Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but there are some good eggs in Santa Monica too. A few months back one of my long time neighbors was being evicted for non-payment of rent, which seemed something of a mystery as the fellow is a Viet Nam veteran and eligible for Social Security. At his request, another neighbor offered to help. She and her son found a decade of unopened mail in the apartment and other indications that the fellow had reached the point where he was no longer capable of handling his personal business affairs. With some diligent and persistent phone work, available resources were located and the Viet Nam vet was relocated into a quality assisted care facility within walking distance of his long time neighborhood. Without the intervention of the Good Samaritan, our neighbor may well have ended up destitute and homeless.
Which brings me to a more recent and somewhat less uplifting event. Last week there was a knock at my door at 1:30 a.m. It was a Santa Monica police officer! He asked for me by name and informed me that my vehicle parked out front had been vandalized. We went out and checked and sure enough, in the silent of the night someone had the audacity to crawl under my car and attempt to remove the catalytic converter with a screaming battery – operated power saw. They had cut clear through the front side of the exhaust pipe. Hearing the commotion, witnesses nearby turned on their lights and otherwise noticed something astray. The police were called. Spooked, the attempted thieves abandoned their effort and split, but not before witnesses were able to provide descriptions of their vehicle.
After filing a police report on my front porch at around 2 a.m., the police officer, very cordial I might note, requested that I take my wounded vehicle to police headquarters early the next morning so evidence could be recorded. Needless to say, it was hard to go back to sleep for the remainder of the night. In the morning, there was a note on the door informing me that there was no need to visit the police station; later in the night the SMPD recorded the evidence themselves on site. And by the way, they arrested two suspects about a mile away.
Thanks to efforts of Good Samaritans and good police work, I was spared substantial damages. The help is especially appreciated since my catalytic converter was stolen about a year ago, by quieter wrench-wielding thieves. This is getting old. Turns out that my particular model, a Toyota 4 Runner, is highly prone to such theft.
I might note that our family has learned in a far more substantive way how the kindness of strangers can be huge. When my father was in his mid-sixties he suffered a cardiac arrest in an Antelope Valley movie theater. They stopped the film, and not one but two fellow theater goers – complete strangers — administered CPR until paramedics arrived. The hospital was less than five minutes away and not only was my father revived, he lived another decade of quality life including substantial time spent with his eight grandchildren.
As the Thanksgiving season approaches our family will once again be giving thanks to the Good Samaritans who volunteer to help others in times of need.