Took Note Of Your Kindness

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | April 30, 2018

(Chicago is having a particularly nasty cold snap, with temperatures routinely hitting negative ten Fahrenheit, or even lower. One evening, around eight pm, I am heading out of the physics classroom when another student catches up to me.)

Girl: “Hey, you work for the biology department, right?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m a student employee. What’s up?”

Girl: “Do you know if either of the lab managers are still around?”

Me: “No, they usually leave around five. Why? Does your research lab need to borrow equipment?”

Girl: “Oh, crap! No, I accidentally left my coat and mittens in one of the classrooms, and now the door’s locked, and I’m walking home tonight.”

Me: “Which classroom? I might have the key to it. If not, I’m giving you a ride; I drove today.”

(She tells me, and sure enough, it’s a room I have access to. Thirty seconds later, I have the door open and she’s pulling her coat out of the closet at the back of the room.)

Girl: “Oh, my God, thank you so much!”

Me: “No worries, chica. It’s way, way too cold to be without a coat. You sure you don’t want a ride?”

Girl: “Nah, it’s only a ten-minute walk; it’s just too far to go without a coat in this weather. Thanks, though!”

Me: “Fair enough. Have a good rest of the night!”

(We wish each other well, and I think no more about it. Because the lab is smaller than the lecture hall, our physics class will have one early lab section, then the lecture for everyone, then one late lab section. I’m usually in the late lab section, because I’m at work earlier in the afternoon. For lab-based exams, we’re allowed one sheet of notes and formulas. The day of our final lab exam, I take off work, and spend nearly four hours typing up my notes. Two sentences from the end, the computer starts glitching and shuts off, and when I finally get it up and started again, my carefully saved document is nowhere to be seen. It’s only twenty minutes until class, and I’m fighting an anxiety attack and trying not to cry in the middle of the computer lab, when the girl from before comes over.)

Girl: “Hey, you okay?”

Me: “The computer, it ate my note sheet! And I saved the document, but it’s not on the drive, and I don’t have time to copy it out again, and oh, God, oh, God, oh, God, I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

Girl: “Here. Do you want mine?”

Me: “What? Don’t you need it?”

Girl: “No, I take the earlier lab section. I just finished up; I was coming over to print the lecture notes.”

Me: “Oh, my God, thank you! I’ll get it back to you in class Wednesday, as soon as I see you!”

Girl: “No need. You can keep it. Feel free to add any notes you need; I don’t need it back.”

Me: “Oh, man. Thank you so much!”

Girl: “No worries! Fair trade for making sure I wasn’t walking home in January without a coat.”

(I spent the next twenty minutes adding a few of my own notes and shortcuts, and managed to get a high B on the lab exam. That entire physics class was one of the friendliest I’ve ever been in, but the girl who gave me her note sheet when I was on the brink of having a breakdown totally takes the cake!)

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