I stood at on the sidewalk yesterday, looking up at a stairway. It might as well have been to heaven because I am on crutches due to a broken ankle and there was no way I was going up those stair. I asked one guy to see if there was a back entrance. He did so and promptly came back to tell him that the stairs were it.
Then I heard a voice to my right. A woman asked me, “Can I help you up the stairs?” I was a little taken aback, thinking “Uh, what?” But she was just being nice. I have found this to be characteristic of people here in my new abode of southwest Virginia.
Shortly after she asked if I needed help, another couple gave me directions to a similar, accessible place. On the way back to my car I ran into three Arab students from the school where I teach. I asked them, “Do you think people are nice here”? They enthusiastically said that indeed they were.
Earlier in the day I had two other similar incidents. A couple helped me carry my laundry out of the laundromat where I was doin my washing. While there I noticed something hanging from the bottom of my car. I had heard a strange noise earlier, but I didn’t know what it was. So I drove to a mechanic. The service guy at the desk told me, “For what we have to do it would cost me more to write up a ticket than for us to do the work. So don’t worry about it.” They had my car ready in 15 minutes.
The niceness has been an ongoing experience since I moved here a month ago. When I go to get a cup of coffee the customers are always helping me in and out of the place by opening the door. The realtor I have been working with has been extra helpful, even meeting me at the electric company and helping me turn on our power.
Virginia isn’t perfect. I have met some bland people. But no one has been unfriendly. I hope it isn’t just my culture shock at work because if I have my way they will have to take my dead, cold hands from the dirt here before I leave.