A Hero Named José

superI was having a day.

It was a Tuesday, not a Monday, although Monday got hit with a poison dart late in the day and its lingering venom penetrated into its usually harmless neighbor.

So on Tuesday afternoon, I found myself standing in a stupor next to a fuel pump at Maverik filling three gas cans with one hand and licking the drips of a melting frozen yogurt cup off my other hand.

Why would I stupidly buy a frozen yogurt before I pumped gas?

As I said, I was having a day and it was clouding my judgment.

A professional project I’d put a lot of time and effort into just suffered a detrimental blow and I was pouting over it. And I was mad at myself for pouting over it because I admire people who keep their composure when things go awry and I want to be one of those people, eventually. Because things happen that you can’t control, and people do things that you can’t control, and if don’t keep your composure about it then you can’t control an urge to take all three of your spare gas cans to Maverik and fill them up just to have an excuse to go get a therapeutic cup of self-serve frozen yogurt that isn’t priced by the ounce like it’s precious metal.

I finished filling the gas cans just as the last trace of flesh on my left hand covered with melted goo. As I was replacing the nozzle in the pump, a residual gurgle of gas spilled all over my right hand. I yanked my receipt with the gas hand and stuffed it in my pocket before thinking about the affect that would have on my favorite pair of capris. I also didn’t think to set down the frozen yogurt before I tried to heft a full gas can into the back of my truck with one hand.

The yogurt was dripping and splattering as I awkwardly maneuvered the gas can, which was also dripping and splattering, distributing samples of cookies n’ cream n’ petroleum everywhere. I had barely managed to finagle one can into the truck when I turned around, and “he” appeared out of nowhere—Batman.

Okay, his name was José, but he was Batman to me.

I shudder to think how pathetic my clumsy display looked to onlookers and this man was kind enough to intervene before somebody threw a match to put this sad woman out of her misery. José simply came over and said, “I got it,” and had the other two cans secured in my truck in a flash. I asked his name because I wanted to know the name of my super hero. I almost reached out to shake his hand, then spared him. I verbally thanked him though and José smiled and tipped his canvas sunhat as he walked away.

Okay, he looked more like Indiana Jones than Batman there.

It’s amazing the affect a random act of kindness can have on a person’s spirits. I got in my truck and headed toward one of those fancy frozen yogurt places to prepay ten bucks for the next customer so he/she could enjoy a cup for half off.

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