A dead car battery reveals the kindness of strangers (commentary)

Date: Mar 18, 2019

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – We’re Staten Islanders. We like to complain. About traffic. About restaurants. About politics.

And we like to complain about each other. Aggressive drivers. Loud neighbors. Surly salespeople.

How about some good news for a change? There are still some nice people out there. I found out for myself on Friday.

I was driving down Front Street on my way to work and had to get on the phone. So I pulled over along the waterfront.

It was a warm morning. The rain had stopped. The view of Brooklyn and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is one of the best in the city.

Problem is, I left my headlights on in the car while I was gabbing. And you know what I discovered after I got off the phone: I’d drained the battery.

I felt doubly stupid because I knew the battery was old. I couldn’t remember ever having changed it. It was in the back of my mind to do so.

So I was stranded. And, no, I didn’t have jumper cables with me.

I called my brother Kevin. He’s the handy one in the family, the one we rely on to help us fix things. The one who’s there when the chips are down. No answer. I called a colleague at work. He didn’t have jumper cables either.

There were one or two vehicles parked near me, including a mini bus that had been idling there for a few minutes. As much as I felt like a schmuck for letting my battery die, I approached.

The guy behind the wheel was sympathetic, but he also did not have jumper cables. So I trudged down the waterfront and asked another guy.

This guy didn’t have cables with him, but said he could drive back home and get something to help me. So he took off, and I waited.

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