‘Doing good things is the answer to life:’ A heart-felt thank-you to that ’60s plow guy, aka ‘Snow Angel’

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“He was like the Fred Astaire of snow removal with that thing.”

Thursday morning I got up and, like many other people in the city, found my car buried in a mountain of snow. It looked like an igloo with headlights. I wasn’t looking forward to bundling up and going outside to dig my car out of it. Things like that kind of give me anxiety.

Whenever I know I have to do anything strenuous, I think back to eight years ago today actually, on December 19, 2012, when I was moving a dryer down to the basement, then 20 minutes later had a massive heart attack that almost killed me. Fortunately, with the prompt help of friends and doctors and nurses, I survived.

So there it was. My car… buried in a beautiful white pile of new-fallen anxiety. I dressed up and went outside to start cleaning off the car and shoveling the snowbank it was buried in. Within five minutes of shoveling I started thinking about how long this was going to take… “at least two %#*&# hours,” I figured.

I managed to clean off my car, but it was the shoveling around my car that was going to take until summer.

I glanced up and noticed an old 1960s or 70s pick-up truck with a plow coming down the street toward me. I really didn’t think much of it (except for how cool it looked) because trucks with plows are pretty much the only things capable of driving around in 18 inches of snow. So, I kept shoveling.

Suddenly I hear a voice shout out, “Step aside!” It was the ’60s pick-up truck guy. I stepped away from my car, and this person started going crazy with his plow. He was like the Fred Astaire of snow removal with that thing. He cleared out the entire radius of my car. This guy didn’t ask if I needed help, he TOLD me he was going to help me. I was blown away by this.

When he was done, he rolled his window down and shouted, “All set?” Almost as if he was prepared to do anything else I needed. I mean, I didn’t even know this guy. I approached his window and said, “Man, you didn’t have to do this. I’m sure you’ve been up all night and must be exhausted. I’m gonna run inside and grab $20. I’ll be right back.” He laughed. “Don’t worry about it. It was no trouble at all. Just make sure you pay it forward.”

“I will, but I’m still going to grab some cash.” I insisted he stay put and told him I’d be back in 30 seconds. I ran in to grab my wallet, ran back outside, and he was gone.

I just stood there for a moment. Snow falling on my head. Twenty bucks in my hand getting soggy. Trying to absorb the last five minutes. I was suddenly overwhelmed with relief. Not because I didn’t have to shovel anymore snow. I was relieved knowing that there are still good people here. People who do good things… as well as remind you that doing good things is the answer to life. This person was an actual “snow angel.”

Thank you, whoever you are.

Paul Cormier lives and works in Manchester and is host of Retro Spectrum Radio with Pauly C. Friday nights at 8 p.m. on WMNH 95.3 FM. He also writes occasional columns for the InkLink about historic Manchester under Living in the Past.

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