Ten years ago, I went to NASA with my wife and nine-month-old son. My brother-in-law dropped us there and promised to pick us up in the evening. I told him to be on time because the place shut at 5 pm sharp. He agreed.
My wife and I had a good time. At 5 pm, we stood at the designated pick-up point. The parking lot emptied in no time but there was no trace of my brother-in-law.
There were no mobile phones then. So it was impossible to track him down.
After a while, I spotted a police car approaching us. A young officer stepped out of the car and shouted, “All well?” I told him that we were waiting for our pick-up. He replied that it was a high-security zone and we would have to leave soon.
He asked to see our passports. I told him that they were with my brother-in-law.
I realised the conversation wasn’t going down too well with him. Suddenly, my son started crying.
The officer wanted to know how old my son was. When I told him that he was nine months, he was all concern. My son was crying for milk but we didn’t know where to heat it. The officer heated the bottle in his car.
The stern officer had suddenly become a messiah. He assured us that we had nothing to worry about. As luck would have it, we managed to recollect the number of my brother-in-law’s car. The officer conveyed it to his colleagues.
Then we started chatting. He told me that he had an Indian girlfriend who loved Indian food. He had a desire to visit India. He asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I was a musician.
This got the conversation going. He was wowed by Pandit Ravi Shankar and said that America could benefit from our
spirituality. All this was happening while his colleagues were busy tracking down my brother-in-law.
He asked my son and wife to sit in the police car because it was warm inside and they would be protected from the cold. He had become our best friend.
Suddenly, we got the news that they had located my brother-in-law’s car. He was delayed because of a flat tyre and would reach us in 10 minutes.
Then, there he was. We were so relieved. I thanked the officer profusely for helping out a stranger. He took me aside and said, “You were not a stranger. I knew almost everything about you even before I stopped my car.”
As I waved goodbye, I realised that good people come in all shapes and sizes. I’d just met one.
(The writer is a music composer)