I believe in our goodness, our potential, and our future.
The recent news on the overturn of the Roe v Wade abortion law shook the country. After 50 years of the constitutional protection of a woman’s rights is no longer dictated by women, but by the Supreme Court Justices of the United States. I was in Washington D.C. at the time, just one mile south of where protesters marched along the US Capitol and US Supreme Court buildings
Seeing the world go backward, divided, and estranged from one another, we sometimes wonder if we can be optimistic enough to ever trust humanity. However, I have a few episodes to share with you from my recent trip. Of course, my experiences are limited, but I can’t stop believing in us, humanity.
A Piece of my experience
During my trip, I attended the American Librarians Association’s (ALA) annual conference and held a couple of demo tables for 30 minutes each at the IBPA’s (Independent Book Publishers Association) exhibition booth. I gave away twenty advance reader copies (ARCs) of my book, A Sky of Infinite Blue, each day during the weekend.
I was very grateful and happy to see copies of my signed books go so quickly and that I had no copies left in less than twenty minutes out of the given 30 minutes. Throughout the conference, I met many authors, librarians, and readers with good hearts and wishes. I thought I was the luckiest of all attendees.
A Stranger’s kindness
One day after I finished the ALA, I took an Uber to my friend’s home.
In the car, I always enjoy friendly talks with the driver.
“OMG! My iPhone’s battery is almost gone… less than 10 %.”
“No problem…you can use my charger,” said the driver, pulling his line from his GPS-operating iPhone.
I appreciated his kindness, plugged in my phone, and placed it in the back pocket of the passenger seat. We enjoyed chatting for the remainder of the ride.
“Here we are at your friend’s house,” the driver said as we arrived.
“Oh, thank you!” I said as I stepped out of the car cheerfully.
Once settled at home, I began to organize the books that I acquired at the ALA. Then suddenly, I remembered…
I left it in the Uber car!
I frantically pulled out my laptop and began to search Uber’s website for help. But as I made a claim, I had to verify my identity. Both of my Gmail accounts require a two-step verification involving a text to my iPhone. I was dead-ended.
Now I googled Uber’s “lost & found” online system. I sent a request for the driver to respond to my inquiry, but no reply. I repeated it three times, but no good news. Again, I had hit a dead end.
How can I possibly get my phone back?
My entire trip depended on the function of my iPhone. How can you live without it? How can I reserve tomorrow’s Uber and its payment? What if someone breaks into my identity and confidential contents that my phone holds? I was desperate.
Anxious, I was staring at the kitchen window when I saw a red Toyota REV 4 approaching the house.
Oh, My Goodness! He must’ve come back!
I dashed out of the door and met him in the driveway.
“I drove from D.C. for you…”
“I know… you are so kind!! I can’t believe you did!”
I was absolutely ecstatic.
He elevated my day and my entire East Coast trip in a totally unexpected way. His small act of kindness is a reminder and metaphor for what we need in our world. Act on goodness, and what we truly believe in humans without expecting anything stems from courage, trust, and love.
My Friend’s Kind Invitation
During my trip, I stayed at my former boss, Marian’s house in Maryland. Dr. Marian Young is the present deputy director of the NIDCR/NIH, and my dearest friend.
Marian and her husband, Jack have known me for 32 years, since the first day in February 1990 when I arrived in the United States. She took me as a post-doc researcher, and not only trained me to become an excellent researcher but also helped me adjust to this country while I was still a “foreigner.” I appreciate our continued friendship and an occasional wonderful helping hand extended to me.
Marian kindly set up and invited me to a “Meet & Greet” session at the patio of the NIDCR/NIH before the ALA conference. On short notice, as many as twenty junior and senior researchers and directors gathered for my talk. Through our “Q & A” session, I shared my own experience as an international post-doc researcher, and later as a licensed clinician in the States.
I knew a handful of attendees at the gathering since the time Patrick and I worked at the NIH. So, I talked about our life, Patrick’s illness and death, and then my new life as a writer and author. My heart was warmed and vibrated from the goodwill and wishes of the attendees, Marian, and others who helped this opportunity manifest.