I attended the naturalization ceremony at the Harriet Tubman Home and National Historical Park in Auburn on Aug. 8. It was an inspiring location for a very important ceremony. American citizenship represents the freedom that many around the world are denied.. The individuals naturalized spanned the world including Afghanistan, Honduras, Bhutan, Columbia, Italy and India. Inspired by these individuals and wishing I could get to know their stories better, I set off back to work. As I was pulling out of my parking spot, my car got stuck in the mud, and I mean really, really stuck in the mud. The front bumper was touching the muddy ground and the tires were halfway in what seemed more like quicksand than mud.

One of the local police officers came over to lend me a hand, but one person wasn’t going to be enough. A newly naturalized citizen passed by with his family and all three stepped into the action. Even with the extra help, my car wasn’t budging. Then we hear, “I have a chain, I can help.” In steps yet another freshly naturalized citizen. His chain is a great help, but we needed even more international power. Another new citizen steps in and offers his four-wheel drive truck. They were not concerned about the suits they wore but rather were looking to give a helping hand. Finally, my stubborn and mud splattered car is pulled from the mud. As muddy as it was, it didn’t compare to the state of the suits my rescuers wore to be sworn in as citizens of the United States.

All night I’ve been mulling this scenario over and over. These amazing immigrants to our country, their first task as citizens of the U.S. was that of a good Samaritan. I’m grateful to them, to their giving spirit, to their love to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. In true fashion of giving back to community, after helping me with my car, the group then assisted another couple with a disabled vehicle in the same predicament. All the while accepting nothing more than thanks. On the ground where Harriet Tubman herself helped so many, I was helped.

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To my good Samaritans, if our paths don’t cross again, know that I’m very grateful for your help, and will look for ways to pay it forward in your honor.

Karen Kuhl


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