In an article in Jamaicans.com last month, I mentioned that my brother Bill and his wife Faye (photo at right) were going to Jamaica for a two-week holiday, and I wondered about their safety. They were spending a couple of weeks at a hotel in Ocho Rios, and renting a car to drive across the island and look up relatives. I’d read about Jamaica’s high crime rate and I was uneasy about their plan to go driving about by themselves. But I predicted they would come to no harm because of their easy-going manner and friendly attitude.
Last night I got living proof that I was right. They were back in London, Ontario – very much alive – and phoned me to report that their trip was not just wonderful but “magical.” And they attributed their experience not only to the glorious beaches, mystical mountains, delectable island dishes and bewitching music, but also to the warmth and generosity of the people they encountered.
Their trip had its adventures, like getting lost in the heart of Kingston late one night, but they were never in any danger. Here’s how The Daily Gleaner’s Shernette Gillispie reported the incident:
An unknown angel has made an indelible impression on Billy and Faye Graham from Canada.
So impressed have the two been that they realised that the negative picture constantly being painted of Jamaica has hidden the hospitality of the island’s people.
The Grahams told The Gleaner that they went to visit a cousin at the King’s Gate Nursing Home on Maeven Avenue, St Andrew.
They said on their way back to the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, they were completely baffled as to which way to go, given that the streets were crowded with traffic.
Seventy-one-year-old Faye was so confused she started to “weep and wail”.
It is in the midst of their chaos that a driver stuck in traffic took the time to ask if they were okay.
The elderly couple told the stranger of their plight. After giving them directions, the driver realised the Grahams were still somewhat perplexed.
“He gave us directions but I guess he realised that we didn’t understand,” said Mrs Graham.
The stranger took the couple home.
“He drove before us. All the way to the hotel. It was a long way. But he did not just leave us at the entrance, he drove into the yard,” an overjoyed Mrs Graham told The Gleaner.
She said, “He wouldn’t take anything, not even gas money.”
Mrs Graham, who described the deed of the unknown angel as “absolutely wonderful”, said her only regret was that she did not ask the stranger his name.
“In my state of excitement I didn’t think of asking him his name,” she said.
The deed, however, has left the couple thinking of how much Jamaica has been portrayed negatively, with little being said of the kindness of the island’s people.
“Jamaica has the reputation of being uncaring, having a high murder rate, and so on,” said Mrs Graham.
The Grahams do not want the act of kindness to go unnoticed and have asked the unknown angel to contact them.
The couple may be contacted at the Rooms Hotel in Ocho Rios, St Ann. The couple leaves the island in two weeks.
They never heard from the “angel.” Perhaps he feels his good deed was just par for the course in our island in the sun. For that’s the way I remember it.
And that’s the way Bill and Faye will always remember it, too. Instead of the gunmen we had been reading about, they met an unassuming angel who went out of his way to help two lost tourists find their way back to their hotel .