OK, this is the totally nice column. Just about everything in this column is nice, and I say that unabashedly. Be careful out there. These stories might make you feel good about the world, )) about people, about life. This column even contains a feel-good story about that lawyer who's always advertising on TV -- Baltimore's most famous former assistant state's attorney, that Stephen L. Miles guy. Here we go.
A couple of weeks ago, Jordan Meilach was standing on Falls Road near the Kelly Avenue Bridge, waiting for a cab. He started to feel faint. "I have had a history of internal bleeding which comes about every six months," says Meilach, 71. "I had to get to Sinai Hospital. I was about to go into a tavern to call 911 when a blue-and-white truck pulled into a parking space. A young man got out and was headed for the pub for his lunch break. I asked if he could take me to Sinai. He consented. I received three pints of blood immediately and was sent home the next day. I never got his name. But I remember the company he worked for -- AAA Air Conditioning, Parkville. This young man was unselfish and compassionate. Thanks again, my good Samaritan!" For the record, Stephen Ferro is the good Sam's name. Steve -- may we call you that? -- way to go.
Like everybody else in Baltimore, Nellie Power knows Stephen L. Miles as that lawyer -- "Let's talk about it" -- we always see in TV commercials. Nellie Power has never been impressed with Miles, and when she heard some of the material he used in his attempt at stand-up comedy last fall, she was impressed even less. "Brash and annoying" was what Power thought of Miles. Then, one day, the day before her last birthday, Power found herself sitting right next to the famous Stephen L. Miles in Greg's Bagels in Belvedere Square. "He looked more attractive than on TV, but who could miss the telltale SLM embroidered on his snazzy jacket?" Power says. "My mind started to race: What sarcastic, obnoxious comment would adequately convey my contempt? I couldn't think of anything suitable."
Power was with friends from out of town. One of them presented her with a bouquet of flowers and sang "Happy Birthday."
Miles got up and went to the counter to order more bagels. Power had more bad thoughts. But she was frustrated; she hadn't mustered the courage to say anything nasty to her least-favorite TV lawyer, and now he was about to leave the bagel shop.
"I closed my eyes in disappointment," Power said, "and when I opened them, he was standing next to my table. 'Whose birthday is it?' Miles asked. 'Mine,' I gasped. He presented me with the bag of bagels and was gone by the time I could stutter my thanks. I was flabbergasted. Had he read my mind? Did he know that I was thinking evil thoughts about him? Had he fallen instantly in love with me? Would this be my only brush with greatness? Should I start a fan club? Would he let me be in one of his commercials? My mind is still plagued by questions. You've spoken to the man, Dan -- may I call you Dan? Was this a random act of kindness or a manipulative ploy I cannot begin to understand?"
How do I know, Nel -- may I call you that? -- what lurks in the heart of another man?
I asked Steve -- he said I could call him that -- about this encounter. He remembered it. When he heard Nellie's version of it, he said: "Tell her I'm sorry I ruined her day."
Cop is tops
A few days after Christmas, Charlie O'Neil was driving on Middletown Road, in northern Baltimore County, when his car skidded across a patch of ice into a bread truck. The truck driver was not injured, but Charlie was trapped inside his car. An off-duty officer from the Maryland Transportation Authority happened to drive by. He pried open the door to Charlie's car, wrapped Charlie's bleeding face in towels, talked to him, kept him conscious and calm until an ambulance arrived. Charlie had a fractured right ankle, a dislocated hip, pelvic and sternum fractures and bad facial cuts. He was in the hospital for several weeks; he's now undergoing physical therapy. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that Charlie's mother, Mary Lee O'Neil, heard the story of the unidentified cop who had rendered first aid. The officer didn't consider what he did any big deal; he certainly hadn't bragged about it. But Mary Lee O'Neil tracked him down, and now she wants to thank him publicly for helping Charlie on that lonely, icy road. His name is Joseph Kane. Officer Kane -- may we call you Joe? -- the O'Neils say thanks.
A boy's Giant act
Millie Jones lost a neatly-folded $10 bill while shopping in the Giant on York Road. "I stopped at the office to ask if anyone had turned it in. And someone had -- a boy," Jones said. "They had his name, address and phone number." The 7-year-old boy had been in the store with his parents, Ginny and Jim Golden, when he found the bill on the floor. "He was quite excited about it," Jim Golden said. "But we talked to him. I said, 'Look how that bill is neatly folded; someone meant for that to fit in their wallet.' . . . He was pensive for a moment." Then the boy left the bill at the courtesy booth. Millie Jones called later that day and thanked him for his honesty. "He did the right thing," Jim Golden said proudly. For the record, the boy's name is Matthew Golden. Hey, Matt -- may we call you that? -- look for a little surprise in the mail.