Perfect timing

Readers share their "perfect timing, for good" stories. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

Well, I asked and you answered. Actually that’s happened a few times lately.

First, with the amazing replies some of you offered to last Friday’s “Dream Job” comment thread regarding jobs and careers and starting businesses at age 40 or 50+. (I’ll be back in touch as the book comes along.)

And then, with the “perfect timing, for good” stories (aka “Long Story Short”) that some of you shared yesterday.

Now, I scour the comments every day, but I know most readers probably don’t return to the site to do so. So let me just share parts of a few of these from yesterday. (I made some minor formatting edits.)

We have the most amazing and interesting readers anywhere:

Waiting in line

The pharmacist pointed out that I had been ahead of her, and the woman took this news with some agitation.

As it turns out, she was waiting to get medicine for her adult daughter, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. She was just speaking aloud to anyone now, anyone who would hear her.

A man in line behind us both spoke up. He’d had had that form of cancer and survived it. He offered to answer any questions she might have.

It was an amazing experience, to see her calm down and be grateful for his help. Had I not been there when I was, had the pharmacist not taken me first, [they] would’ve never struck up a conversation.

Sue L.

Heimlich, Part 1

I’d taken a random weekday off. My wife and I were busy in the front yard when a neighbor came running from across the cul-de-sac with her 2-year-old in her arms.

His face was blue. She was screaming. He’d swallowed a quarter and couldn’t breathe. She handed him to me, and out of pure response, I performed the Heimlich maneuver.

Out pops the quarter. His mom was crying; he regained his breath, and all was well.

That training in school years before paid off. Thankful for the recall. I was thankful to be available that random day in the front yard. It also reminded me to hug my people a little harder.

Paul Carpenter

The Open Door

On a street known for speeding, with signs on people's lawns—“Slow Down!”—I found a girl about 4 years old in the street. She’d somehow gotten out of her house.

I grabbed her in my arms and went into the house with the open door. Mother did not know how she got out. And yes, she thanked me profusely.


Heimlich, Part 2

I just had a similar experience. A few weeks ago, I was moving my daughter from L.A. to Philly. We made a late stop for a breakfast sandwich. But, no can do! Breakfast is over!

As I was walking back to the truck to inform my daughter of this situation, a lady started screaming: “Help! Help!” I saw her—and her husband, who was red-faced and choking on his Egg McMuffin.

I ran over and performed the Heimlich on him. He spit out a huge piece of ham. They were very appreciative. I told him he should chew his food better! 😊

My daughter pointed out that if we weren’t late for breakfast, I would not have been in the parking lot at that time, and who knows what might have happened.

Roger Spafford

Split-Second Decision

I have one! It's not as heroic as your story, but it did save me in another major way. It's also not my story necessarily, but I was directly affected by it.

This past Friday was the 17th anniversary of when my dad, sister and I immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador. It's no coincidence that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, given that it was the first one we spent here. Every year around this time, I reminisce and reflect on how thankful I am.

The move wouldn't have happened if several things hadn't lined up as they did.

The process started in or around 1997. Due to my sister being born, and then my parents getting divorced, the paperwork had to be amended a few times and be put back in the queue. (The claims process to come into the U.S. already takes an eternity).

Finally, in 2004, my dad got his turn to be claimed. During an initial phone conversation with the consulate where they told him what to bring, where to go and when, he was about to hang up the phone when the lady on the other end said, "Before you go. I have paperwork here for two more people. MY NAME and MY SISTER'S NAME. Will they be traveling with you?"

My dad was stunned for a quick second before saying, "If it's possible to add them into the process now, please do."

A split-second decision for that woman to double check her paperwork when she didn’t have to. A split-second decision for my dad to grab the opportunity to get custody of us. A lifetime that unfolded, as both of them unknowingly crafted my destiny.

LOTS of things wouldn't have happened without those two split-second decisions, one of them obviously being that I wouldn't be writing to you at all today. I have to say I haven't invented a better mouse trap yet, but I do have a novel I'm writing that, if it ever gets finished and published, may just be enough to inspire someone else.

Oh, and I hope that the woman on the other end of the phone has never had to experience any hardships in the slightest in the past 17 years.

Vanessa Rueda

Thanks for these, everyone. You made my day! I’ll be off until next Monday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks so much for being part of Understandably.

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7 other things worth your time

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Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.