My sister, Dr. Leticia Garza-Falcon, teaches at San Juan Diego Catholic High School, a college preparatory school in Austin. Recently, she shared with me the trials and tribulations of a day she had last week which, in the end, left her inspired. I encouraged her to write that experience to share in this column:

One very cold and bleak Monday morning last week, I got into my car to face a new day of teaching. I tried the ignition several times but only got a stuttering sound. The car would not start. Now what? How would I get to work? What would the repairs cost? All of these questions raced through my head as I felt helpless and alone. It was 7:15 a.m. and no one was around who could help me.

But sometimes, out of the most troubling circumstances come insights. This is the story of a day in my life that I wish to mark for the important lesson it taught me. I donít want it to simply pass like so many others that have blended into a sea of vagueness. I want to confine the memory and that is why I write it. On that particular day, I went from feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and alone to a state of raised consciousness. Out of the trouble, I reached awareness that I was instead surrounded by kindness. All I had to do was reach out.

I left my car, went back into my house and called a taxi. Then I called the school to inform the Dean of Academics that I would probably be late to my first period class. She was on it and would cover for me. The taxi did not take long. I climbed in worried about how I would be able to return home and start my car. On top of everything, I suddenly realized I had lost one of my gloves ó my only pair. I had probably dropped it on the sidewalk as I rushed toward the taxi, cell phone in hand. The taxi driver, becoming aware of my loss, tried to make me feel better by saying that I could wear the remaining glove on one hand and then the other. I wasnít laughing.

Once at the school and between classes, I had to gather information about how to get my car started. Who could I ask for help? The head coach of our school was kind enough to call a mechanic for me. He was kind enough to pick up my keys from the school, drive to my home and start the car with jumper cables. It was a bad battery according to his assessment. Based on the charge he put on it, I might be able to start it when I got home that afternoon. I said a prayer. The mechanic brought the keys back to the school and charged me nothing for his services. That was kind.

After the day was over, the school counselor was kind enough to give me a ride home. Thanks be to God, the car started. I was able to drive to have the battery replaced.

Unbeknownst to me, all this time, the taxi service had been trying to contact me. The driver had my glove and wanted to know if it would be alright to drop it off at the school office. When I called to thank him, I discovered that he had actually gone back to my home and sure enough found the glove lying on the sidewalk. I was soon back in possession of my glove.

You see, simple acts of kindness from various individuals add up to a lot. These individual acts transformed my day by turning my perspective around. I went from feeling cold, alone, isolated, and helpless to feeling the warmth of the kindness that surrounded me. It is worth marking a day such as this simply for its memory but most of all for the lesson in life it offers. We are not alone. When we least expect it, we sense community and become conscious of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. There is magic in that. (Contributed by Dr. Leticia Garza-Falcon)

Mary Garza Cummings is a freelance writer. The Town Crier does not warrant the information as valid. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure validity of the information. If you have comments, email askseniorfocus@aol.com.