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Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Shelter in the storm

By Jeffrey Frances, Rockville

Last Wednesday evening, after exercising at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, I tried to drive the four miles home to Aspen Hill. Traffic was snarled, and I found myself sandwiched between cars on Rocking Horse Lane in Rockville. The residents had come out to help to push stuck cars up over the hills.

Here I was in my little Honda Civic wearing gym shorts. After about an hour, the quart of water I had consumed began to create some discomfort. I want to acknowledge the kindness of a Rocking Horse Lane homeowner who allowed a guy wearing shorts and a sweatshirt to come inside and use the bathroom. It must have seemed strange.

After giving up on getting to Randolph Road, I ended up at Randolph Hills Shopping Plaza, where I took refuge at Pizza Leo’s/Asteroids. Of five customers, I was the only one not buying food, because I eat only kosher. But the owner, Mohamed, and his brother, Lotfi, were warm and welcoming to all of us. We shared stories, charged our cellphones and drank excellent jasmine tea.

By 11 p.m., plows were visible on the street. One member of our group, who had hoped to get home to Owings Mill to see his baby girl, never did see the promised tow truck, but Mohamed offered him a ride to a hotel. The rest of us went our separate ways.

If not for the owners of this small restaurant, we would have been in a real bind. They remained open late and extended kindness not only to customers who bought food but to at least one person who could not eat due to religious dietary restrictions and bought only an iced tea. I left with the comment that Pizza Leo’s/Asteroids was “the best restaurant I never ate at.”

The next day, when I went shopping at the grocery store in the plaza (KosherMart), I stopped in to shake Mohamed’s hand and show my 8-year-old daughter this excellent example of a place where they know how to show kindness to others.

By Jeffrey Frances, Rockville  | January 31, 2011; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, traffic, weather  
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Thanks for posting this story. It's great to hear of individuals who extended courtesy and kindness to strangers in need.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | January 31, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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