On a visit to my dentist, I turned up Omaha's 90th. Street work signs, tall and orange striped, kept me inching down my single lane. Men working prevented me from reading street signs, but I felt certain I had a ways to go to turn left on Maple Street.
After a while, I wondered if I'd missed my turn, a major street with traffic lights galore. Then I realized I had.
No problem. I'll just hang a left at the next major artery.
Miles flew by before I found an artery and turned. The new street looked unlike a city street. Few buildings. Few cross streets. Even some yellow blossoms. Where am I?
I drove and drove. Then I saw a sign: Fremont 20 miles. Oh my God, I'm halfway to Fremont, a town northwest of Omaha.
Spooked, I whipped a left onto a deserted two-lane highway with a 55-per-mile speed limit. I drove south, I thought, but I wasn't sure. Miles passed before I saw a place to ask for help.
I turned into a complex of high-end homes, the kind where many sport names. I pulled into a road and stopped to check my iPhone.
Then someone pulled up beside me and stopped his shiny black truck. An older man rolled down his window. "You okay?"
I rolled down mine. "I'm lost."
The man smiled. "Where you going?"
I told him.
"I'll take you there. Just follow me."
He turned around and I followed, thinking are you crazy in the middle of nowhere following a man you don't know? Even so, he seemed a better option than my iPhone which had never heard of 129th and Maple Streets. Just like her!
We drove and drove mostly along 168th Street. We crossed Military Avenue and Fort Street, familiar names. When the man pulled his truck off the road, I pulled in beside him.
He got out of the truck, taller and older than I'd thought. "Hi. I'm Barney."
He stuck out his hand and through my rolled down window we shook.
"I think you can take it from here. Maple is the second stoplight. You take a left and—"
"Barney, thanks so much, you've really made my day."
In the Omaha World Herald, I've read about people like Barney, who do you a kindness without being asked. Usually they're folks who pick up your tab in a restaurant. I never thought I'd live to meet one. I'm so glad I did.