Angel invasion

June 9th, 2011 by Dale Hobson

What with new arrivals to NCPR and much rearrangement going on at the station, Bill Haenel was relating a story to me about moving to Boston with all his worldly possessions in an elderly beast of a convertible. When it stalled at a busy┬áintersection, blocking all directions, a crew of ten instantly materialized to push him to a safe location. He never even had to leave the car. Being of a somewhat cynical mind, I said “That’s the difference between Boston and New York. There a crowd would have instantly materialized to yell at you and wave their arms around while doing nothing to help.”

Rockwell Kent engraving

A North Country angel by artist Rockwell Kent

At the same time, evidence has been piling up all around to tell me I’m wrong–maybe not about NYC–but about people in general. Jackie Sauter was slowed to a halt on her morning commute today by a guy parked in the middle of the road to escort a snapping turtle safely across on its nesting journey. What was in it for him?

Just last night I heard that a long-planned community food event had run afoul of the nannyish bureaucrats at the health department and would be forced to swap out homemade delicacies for a factory-made sheet cake. A professional baker and chef, hearing of the plight, stepped in unasked with gourmet goods prepared from scratch in a certified kitchen.

And I was pleased to discover some long-needed safety lines freshly painted at a formerly dangerous turnout I happen to use all the time. How did they get there? A guy knew a guy with the right equipment and paid out of pocket the “North Country wages” required–six tall cold ones. Two-for-one angel story.

As someone jaded by paying too much attention to the rancor and disaster of national media, this was news I needed, and news that I hope to be able to use–bringing out my own deeply-suppressed inner nice. If you have any recent stories of angels dancing on pinheads, please share them in a comment below.

12 Responses to “Angel invasion”

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  1. Pat Glover says:

    Looking forward to more of the same – good news that is! PS – are you missing an E in the above required Mail blank?

  2. Dale says:

    Hi Pat–

    Good eye. I have added the “E-”


  3. Helene Vanderburgh says:

    Ah, yes. These angel stories feed us. Sometimes it is just unexpected sweetness. One day in a local eatery I ran into the husband of a former hospice patient of mine. When I went to pay the bill I was told my dinner had been paid for. Still brings tears to my eyes in the retelling.

  4. diane says:

    These stories are the ones that you don’t hear on the news, sorry to say, even NPR. As Helene said, it is the stuff that feeds us and I wish we could hear more of it. Thanks for sharing it on your blog. There are a lot of good people helping perfect strangers, or snapping turtles all the time.

  5. Chuck Goolden says:

    Nice message Dale. Yes, a lot of good folks exist in this great country!
    Since I have been involved with the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum I have met a great number of can do members and volunteers. In fact, your Todd Moe showed up today and interviewed Gary hargrave in preparation for this weekend’s big exhibition. You should stop by. It will not be many years till we will need someone like you who can teach others about running an old fashioned printing press in our planned print shop. We have the press, maybe it was even yours.


  6. OMG I was in exactly that position in a fully loaded (all my possessions!) van in an intersection in Brooklyn and NO ONE helped me. I sustained an injury that flares up today, 20 years later. BUT, I have balance, nay, a tidal wave of goodness to overcome such torpor in the populace!
    In 1994 I left for a 7-week work assignment having stored all of same said possessions in a friends cabin, coming “home” to homelessness. I’d been seeking a cheap shack I could winterize and build on over time but had run out of time. Friends couches were looking good for my return. My first night out my boss called my hotel in Atlanta and asked if I was sitting down. Mutual friends in the student rental business had bought a house with a mom-in-law for me and an income-producing main house. I could pay a reasonable rent while I decided if I’d like to buy it at no profit to them. I did and it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I’ve been unemployed 3 years and survive on that income now while I spend my time giving back with community organizing (the Local Living Festival – 9/24&25!!). There are some really wonderful people in this world and I’ll be happy to tell anyone who asks who they are (but for privacy feel I shouldn’t announce it here!). I also have another great on about being stuck at the Phoenix airport…but perhaps another time. Thanks, Dale, I love to tell that story! Chelle

  7. PS I don’t care how much of a hurry I’m in — I escort every turtle I see across the road — a snowbrush in the tail divot of their shell, a little forward pressure, and awaaay they go, it’s a turtle toddle on amphetamines across the road!

  8. Terry says:

    Dale…great article…Lots of ‘Angel Invasions’ in the Adk’s. on a daily basis. I drive through here all the time, and the good things and/or words that I see and hear are numerous! In a similar fashion, my pick-up stalled on a busy road in Fort Ann the other day. Within seconds, two angels pushed me out of harm’s way!

  9. Virginia says:

    Thank you for these wonderful stories. There might still be hope.

  10. Dale,
    Several times since I moved to this area I’ve been assisted by ‘North Country’ people, often of an automotive failure nature. Every time this has happened, I am in awe of the number of people who stop and offer help…and…they will never accept more than a smile and a thank you in return for their efforts.
    I now offer many thanks of appreciation to the locksmith who wired my falled tail pipe, the people who called for assistance when a deer and my car tried to occupy the same space, the neighbor who pushed my car out of a snow drift, and the school mechanic who put enough air in my deflated tire to get me to a garage.
    Also, during a time when I was ill and unable to work, perfect strangers as well as new friends and aquaintances who heard of my situation offered financial assistance, words of inspiration and wisdom, food and emotional support.
    You are lovely folks up here. Bravo!

  11. Cindy says:

    These stories don’t really surprpse me. Maybe because I grew up with parents who always did them.

    Vehicle problems car..18 wheeler no matter my dad was out in all kinds of weather to see if he could help. my mom loaned a new tire just bought a few days before to young lady on her way to a doctors appoitment, she was expecting. Even a Minister who stopped to see what was going on told my mom she had lost her tire, mom said so be it she had no way of getting the girl to the doctors (dad was at work and had not got the tire on yet) even the Minister didn’t offer her a ride, Two days later not only did mom get her tire back but a lovely flower to add to her garden.

    They both would take a hitchhiker just a little further to be sure they were where more traffic ran ,more of a chance to find another ride.

    They would never take pay for what they did, they would tell the person the next person they saw who needed it help them, that was payment enough.

    Because I saw this growing up I to do what I can when I’m on the road, in a building, holding a door/elevator open for someone does not take that much out of my day.

    NO we are not like NYC, but then some of us have better examples to follow.

  12. Sue Grimm says:

    A story from further away than our dear north country — of senior citizens in Japan, showing up at the Fukushima plant to don suits and masks, and volunteer on the clean-up crews. Apparently they said something along the lines of “we’re old, and have lived good, long lives — let us do this — keep the younger folks at as great a distance as possible.” Brought tears, when a friend emailed the link to that news story …