I like Good Samaritan stories. Probably because they remind us that when we’re in a jam, it’s not just our friends and family who rally for us: Sometimes it’s complete strangers.
A Good Samaritan came through recently for a woman in Montreal working as a nanny. Like so many other Filipinas I’ve met, she left her family in her home country in order to look after other people’s children here. It’s the only way she could be sure of providing for her own kids, setting them up for a better future. After saving up four thousand dollars and buying what she thought was air passage to Canada for her husband and three kids, this woman got cheated. The airline tickets were fake, and the travel agent in the Philippines who sold them to her has skedaddled.
But one of her Canadian employers went to the media with the story. The word was spread. And that’s when a man in Laval, Quebec, came forward and generously donated plane tickets to the nanny’s whole family.
Naturally there was a bit of a media scrum at Trudeau International Airport yesterday to witness the touching reunion of this family of five. For that matter, I’m sure it won’t be long before the YouTube video goes viral. We like happy endings. (Case in point: Can you even watch the Tim Hortons “Welcome Home” commercial without tearing up?) And it’s all thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
Part of the sociological explanation for why we lend a hand to people we’ve never met is that it creates a more connected society. This ups the odds that a stranger will help us when we’re the ones in need.
Scientifically, it makes sense. Instinctively, though, people simply step up. And that’s one of the beauties of being human.