The first question about praising unsung heroes is whether it undoes their unsung-ness. These are people who work for the community consistently over long periods of time and they shun the limelight. They want no honors, no accolades, no recognition, all they want is the opportunity to continue to serve. They don’t need no silly songs.
However, today a song must be sung, because two of our unsung heroes, a husband and wife will so be making Aliyah and creating chesed connections in a new community. I had the pleasure to work with both of them, and with the husband for over twelve years. Their chesed knows no bounds. Where there’s an opportunity to help in any way, they’re there without a moments hesitation.
The following story happened just 2 weeks ago. I was opening my car door outside a Shul and a car raced by and nicked my door and broke off their own side view mirror. My initial reaction was that it was the other drivers fault because of their speed, and my misconception that the car that makes the contact is responsible. The driver in the other car called her husband and they were insistent that I pay for their entire mirror. They called the police to fill out an accident report and we waited as the clock ticked down and my chances of attending a levaya in Monsey were diminishing.
Along comes my unsung hero. He immediately advises me to pay for the mirror as the increase in the cost of my no-fault insurance will outweigh the mirror’s cost. He told me that he was once back ended, and although it was totally the other driver’s fault, his insurance company cancelled his policy. He then gave me his cell phone with the number of a local mechanic to get an idea of the mirror replacement cost. The mechanic gave me an estimate and informed my that in this case it’s the one opening the car door who is totally responsible.
I told the other driver that I was willing to pay and the husband insisted that I pay his mechanic’s quote which was $100 higher. I walked a few blocks to a local bank to withdraw the necessary cash and my unsung hero agreed to stay with my car and the other driver until I returned. I paid for the mirror, got a receipt and my unsung hero comforted me further by telling me that my relatively small $350 loss should serve as a Kapora, and as far a Kaporas go, small financial losses are not so bad. Having him there with me was a tremendous help and allowed my to handle it with calmness, surprising the other driver who was expecting a continuing argument. I apologized, and from the other driver’s reaction it was a Kiddush Hashem.
This is the power of everyday chesed, generated by unsung heroes who make our world a much better place through their daily efforts. I’ll sorely miss this couple, not just because of their friendship and tremendous service to our community, but because they set a high bar for us to reach for in our day to day lives.