by The Teacher
I’m a part-time adjunct teacher at the nation’s largest community college, in South Florida. Originally from Manhattan, New York, I’ve had minimal personal contact with first, nature, and second, cars. In early February 2004, after a difficult class, I headed to the parking garage.
The elevator stopped on floor four, and standing at the elevator bank was a large black bird. I knew something was wrong. Even native New Yorkers can figure out that birds don’t need to use elevators, right?
The elevator was too crowded to fight my way out, so I got off on the fifth floor, then returned. The bird’s wing was bent in two weird angles.
Thinking the Pelican Sanctuary in Miami could help, I tried to corral it with textbooks. I needed to wrap or box the bird, something. The school’s security guards rode their put-put vehicles by many times, and though I begged for help, were unconcerned and waved me off.
The bird tried to escape this human flailing books, so we looped the entire garage. An hour later we were back at the elevators. I descended to the vending machine, returned, and crushed some crackers for the ravenous bird.
I decided to get it to the street. Corralled into a (miraculously) empty elevator, the bird *hated* the ride. 30 minutes later we exited the lobby and s/he was free, if still injured.
I felt awful I didn’t get it real help, and put old towels in my car for future rescues. Two weeks later, as I parked on the 7th floor for an 8:00 a.m. class, lo, there was a big black bird with a bent wing!
Astounded, I said, “Wait right there! I’ll return at 2:00 p.m. to help”. Sure enough, it was still near. With two towels I started corralling, toreador style. I expected another long difficult slog without help, when an angel in the form of a mechanic, “Armand”, exited the elevator and immediately asked to help.
He toreadored with me, actually getting down on hands and knees on the oily, dirty garage floor, and reaching under cars for the bird. And catch him we did! I wrapped it up like a baby, and it yelled loudly.
We were off, with this nervous, relatively new driver having Hitchcockian visions of a rescue gone wrong. Jan at the Pelican Sanctuary (a saint) identified it as a crow, with one eye, a broken wing, and a broken leg. It was starving and dehydrated.
I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to help, yet Armand the mechanic made the rescue possible. He cared, and was a real miracle worker. And Jan from the Pelican Sanctuary deserves a medal for her help as well.
I’m humbled by the unbelievable coincidence of the crow reappearing by my car. I’ve been in bad situations in my life where I’ve needed to be rescued, and no help arrived. Experiencing this — experiencing Jan and Armand caring about the rescue, too — allows me feel to better about that.