Last week, my teenage son found himself in Rockland County, NY, with a flight from La Guardia in a few hours and no ride.

To be fair, he had a perfectly legitimate ride that decided to leave early and unexpectedly, leaving him stranded.  He was staying at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s home, and he called me to brainstorm about how to get to the airport.  Well, I’m a fan of independence in kids, so I told my son that he could take a bus to Port Authority and from there take another bus to the airport.  We realized that time was tight and I agreed that he should instead take a cab from Port Authority to the airport.  My son wasn’t thrilled about these plans, but he agreed nevertheless.

Ten minutes later I get a phone call from my brother-in-law.

“Ruchi, Sara is going to drive him to the airport.”

“What??”  I said.  “That’s crazy.  It’s an hour without traffic!  And all the kids are home!  And there’s no need for it!  Really, he’s fine!”  (Why does anyone bother with how long a NY drive will take without traffic?  How is that information even relevant?)

“Oh, no, she says it’s perfect, because since the kids are off and they have nothing to do, this will be a great activity!  A project!  A trip!”

This, then is my sister-in-law.  When she does you a favor (a huge one), she makes you feel as if you are doing her a favor by acquiescing.  She’s truly something.

Now I ask you a question.  My sister-in-law is a really, really good person.  But I believe that her religiosity, her belief in chessed (kindness), that God put an opportunity in her path for good, that she will never lose out by doing a good deed, makes it much easier and more satisfying to act altruistically.

What do you think?