We continue our series of personal, impactful stories that have shaped how we practice law.
In college, I was (and still am) a proud member of Kappa Delta Sorority. During my three years as a collegiate sorority member, I learned countless lessons in friendship, leadership, and community involvement. As winter quickly approaches, I am reminded of one night in particular that greatly affected my legal practice.
On a cold mid-winter night, during my last year of college, a few of my sorority sisters and I ventured out of our apartment building for a sisterhood dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. We had been shut in our apartments due to a snowstorm several days earlier, and we were all eager to get out for the first time in days. The restaurant was only three miles away, but our path would lead us through an unsafe part of town.
One of my sisters, Maria, volunteered to drive us all to dinner. As we got into her car, we immediately noticed a problem—Maria’s car was completely snowed in on the side of our street. We stood around for a moment wondering what to do. We did not have any snow shovels, but we did not want to call the night a complete loss.
Just as we were about to give up hope, two men with shovels came to our aid. The men shoveled Maria’s car out of its parking space without exchanging one word with us. After shoveling for what seemed to us to be an hour, the two men finished their task. They refused to accept any payment or thanks, but continued on their way.
At last, we were off. We began to drive to the freeway for the brief journey toward the restaurant. Just as we discovered we were almost out of gas, we heard a huge crash and felt a giant bump. We had a hit a pothole. Panic set in. We were stranded after dark. “What if” horrors abounded through our collective minds!
Miraculously, we were able to quell our panic and drive the car at a crawl to the nearest gas station. When we arrived, a gas station attendant came out of the adjoining store. He asked us if we had a spare tire and, luckily, we did. The gas station attendant offered to change the tire without cost. Because of his kindness, we were able to safely drive back to our apartment building and grab dinner at a restaurant on campus.
At the time, we were just happy to be home safe and irritated with the events of that night. We had missed out on our dinner, and Maria had to get a new tire put on her car. Now, when I think back on this story, I am in awe of how many people came to our aid that night. These individuals responded to our need out of the kindness of their hearts and without any expectation for anything in return.
I think about our experience that night quite often. As a litigator, I strive to carry out the lessons I learned that night by going the extra mile to assist my clients in navigating complicated legal issues and resolving often contentious litigation. However, I could not do my job without my own “helping hands”—the partners who act as my mentors and our wonderful staff who assist us every day. Because of that night, I am reminded to always lend a helping hand and to appreciate one when it is given.
In our 2nd article, Tom Werner examines some interesting rulings regarding transgender locker room policies