Saturday, June 10, 2006

There is Good

It would be unfair to only, always, point out the “bad” in The Kingdom. There, truly, is some “good” as well. Okay, maybe the “bad” seems to more often than not outweigh the “good.” Regardless, the “good” should not go unmentioned or unnoticed.

This past weekend a couple of Saudi Youths rescued an ex-patriot who had been seriously injured and left for dead by an errant cab driver. The story goes that Parameshwaran Nair, who lost his arm in an industrial accident [rock-crushing machine] years ago, got into a taxi to go to work. When Mr. Nair went to pay his fare, the cabbie tried to snatch his wallet. Mr. Nair resisted, whereupon the driver pulled out an iron rod and smashed Mr. Nair’s leg “to a pulp,” and then dumped him on the roadside. Mr. Nair says that some Saudi youths found him lying unconscious under the blazing sun and took him to the hospital. To these heroes who happened upon Mr. Nair and provided assistance, kudos to you!!!

We, too, have experienced “good,” in Saudi youth. Last summer, as we were headed to Bahrain in what had to be record-breaking heat [is there such a thing, here, in Saudi?] and record-breaking traffic, we were forced to sit and inch along the causeway waiting to do the requisite “exit” from Saudi to Bahrain and go through customs. The temperature needle of our Land Rover just kept crawling up and up and up, toward the “red,” and we were trying to keep the air conditioning going at only the bare minimum so as to prevent the truck from overheating and prevent us from suffering heatstroke.

As we sat, uncomfortably squirming in the heat and our own sweat, two young men dressed in “thuggish” looking outfits [the “way too big” pants, and “way to big” tee-shirts that you see on teenagers at the malls in the States] approached our truck. I looked at my husband and said, “Honey, lock the doors.” One of the young men tapped on the window and my husband gingerly pushed the button to put the window down but just a couple of inches and said, “Yes?” In unison the young men told my husband that our radiator was over-heating and spewing its contents onto the ground under our truck.

I felt terrible that my first reaction had been “Honey, lock the doors” when all they wanted to do was help. Not only did these two young men point out a problem –but after making us aware of it - they went off in search of water to fill our radiator! While they were gone, several other [Saudi, or Arab-looking, anyway] men came to see if they could offer assistance – young and old alike – and offered water to us from their own drinking supplies. It was really quite impressive how many stopped and literally got out of their vehicles to assist us. [And it is worth noting, that not ONE single Westerner even bothered to look at us in our predicament, there on the Causeway, as they passed us!] I know we thanked every one of you who stopped and offered water or assistance, but the two young men who originally approached our vehicle were gone before adequate thanks could be proffered. So, belatedly, many thanks, Guys!!!

1 comment:

  1. northern shewolf6/10/2006 06:18:00 PM

    There is always lots of good to be found in people in this world of ours, thank you for relating this story.
    I am sure that Saudis still have within their social moraes the good values of old. After all their 'petro-good fortune' was actually quite recently acquired, and there are still, I believe, strong remnants of the good virtues of the Bedouin code of behavior: generosity, charity and compassion to anyone in need, as per traditions older than Islam.
    Let's hope that these never get lost of forgotten.


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