Tribute to an unknown man in Rhodes

I don’t know your name. I wouldn’t recognize you if you were standing in front of me. I don’t speak Greek and you don’t speak English, so there’s no conversation to recall. However, what I do remember is your incredible kindness to me on February 22 of this year.

You were the kindly old gent who helped me up off the seaside promenade early that sunny Saturday morning when I couldn’t get up myself. Minutes before, I had tripped and hit the cement full force, momentarily knocking myself out. As I repeatedly tried lifting myself up with my hand, I kept falling back onto the cement, all the while in excruciating pain. (I didn’t know then that I had fractured my wrist and cracked a couple of teeth.)

You came along and gently helped me up, leading me to a nearby bench. You were the one who tried to reassure me – with body language, a gentle voice, and a lovely broad smile – that everything would be ok.

You were the one who called an ambulance for me.

You were the one who helped me pull the ring off my ever-swelling finger.

You were the one who gently wiped the blood and dirt off my face.

You were the one who tried to reposition my twisted glasses frame onto my face.

You were the one who stayed with me until the ambulance arrived, and you were the one who even guided me toward the ambulance attendants.

In the next few hours, I’ll finally be leaving Rhodes, and when I do, I will remember its spectacular natural beauty, its marvelous historical heritage, and the general kindness of just about everyone with whom I’ve interacted here.

However, what I will remember most is the kindness and caring of the elderly Greek gentleman whose name I don’t know and whose face I cannot recall. Words cannot begin to express my gratitude to you.

Jocelyn Garwood

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