(Written by Sarah Bechor)
Ariel Drei lives in the town of Bat Ayin located in Gush Etzion and works in Jerusalem as the project manager for a construction company. He volunteers for both United Hatzalah as an EMT and for Yedidim as a roadside assistance provider. On Tuesday, September 10th, of last year, Ariel was at work when he received an emergency alert notifying him that a woman nearby was experiencing severe chest pain. He rushed over and saw the woman distressed and clutching her chest. He provided first aid treatment and stabilized her. When the ambulance arrived Ariel helped load the woman, named Edna, onto the ambulance and waved goodbye hoping that she would be okay.
Later that same week on Friday, it was very close to Shabbat and Ariel was preparing for the festive day with his wife and three children in their home in the hills of Bat Ayin. Suddenly, his phone beeped alerting him to a driver in distress who had called Yedidim. The driver was stuck in the forest, right near Ariel’s home. It was only a five-minute drive. Ariel drove over to help the stranded motorist, a man named Yitzchak. Yitzchak, a man in his 50’s, lived in the nearby town of Migdal Oz. He had come before Shabbat to the local spring and had gotten his jeep stuck. Ariel helped Yitzchak get his car started and both men returned home just in time for Shabbat.
Almost two weeks later, on Tuesday, September 24th, Ariel and his friend David were on their way to the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem to finalize David’s divorce. After the divorce ceremony was over, Ariel hugged his friend and said he would have to catch up with him later because he had to run to work. With a heavy heart, but feeling happy for his friend that he was finally able to get some closure Ariel drove away.
Later that afternoon, Ariel was at work when he received an emergency alert on his United Hatzalah communication device alerting him to a serious car accident that happened nearby. He rushed to the scene, but due to traffic backing up he was not able to drive to the scene. He got out of his car and ran towards the accident. When he arrived he found a badly injured man who had lost a lot of blood. In his haste, he had forgotten his medical kit in the trunk of his car. He shouted towards a complete stranger “Go to that car over there. Here are my keys. Get my medical bag from the trunk and bring it to me quickly!” The man grabbed Ariel’s keys, ran to his car, got the bag, and brought it to Ariel. Ariel, without losing a moment began treating the severely injured man. The man who had gotten Ariel’s bag left the scene.
Ariel waited with the injured man for an ambulance to arrive for more than 20 minutes. When it finally did, Ariel helped load the patient into the back of the ambulance and watched it drive away. With a deep breath, Ariel washed his hands and walked back to his car, bag in tow. When he arrived he realized that he did not have his keys. He looked all over for them, at the scene, near his car and in between. But try as he might he could not find them.
Ariel didn’t know what to do. Without another solution, he started knocking on random doors in the neighborhood to see if anyone had found keys. Right in front of where the accident had taken place, there was an old building that had a security camera that was facing the scene. He walked up to the building and knocked on the first door. A woman answered and told Ariel that the camera was owned by her neighbor Yossi. She then handed Ariel the man’s number.
Ariel called Yossi and was shocked to hear how mad, angry and grumpy the man was. With a real obnoxious attitude, Yossi told Ariel that he was at work, which was about 20 minutes away from his home, and he wouldn’t get off work until 8 p.m. Ariel offered to pay for his taxi home and then back to work if only he would come home for a short time to show Ariel the security cameras. Yossi, annoyed, said he wouldn’t enter a taxi! “I have an idea,” Ariel told Yossi, “I’ll call you right back!”
Ariel, who knew that David had taken the day off, called David and asked him to pick up Yossi. David, with so much appreciation for everything Ariel had done for him, responded that he would pick Yossi up and bring him back to work after Yossi showed Ariel the camera footage. David also suggested that he contact Yedidim for Ariel to see if someone could bring Ariel’s spare keys from Bat Ayin to Jerusalem.
Ariel then called Yossi back saying his friend David was on his way to get him and grumpy Yossi agreed reluctantly to get in the car and come help.
While Ariel was waiting he realized that he was on the same block where the emergency with Edna took place two weeks prior. Wanting to see how she was he walked over to the door and knocked. A healthy and smiling Edna answered, “Wow! It’s you. You saved my life two weeks ago.” Edna thanked Ariel profusely and invited him into her home for a cup of tea. Edna told Ariel that she had gotten to the hospital just in time to have a stent put in then came home a few days later. Ariel then told her about the accident that brought him to the same street and how he lost his keys. Edna replied: “Oh! The accident that just happened? Yes, I saw it from my window… I will ask around now if anyone saw your keys!”
In the middle of this conversation with Edna, Ariel’s phone rang. “Hello?” said the voice. “Oh my goodness! Is this Ariel?” “Yes,” Ariel answered. “This is Yitzchak! A few weeks ago you saved me at the Ma’ayan in Bat Ayin before Shabbat. Do you remember me?” “Of course Yitchak! Hello! So happy to hear from you, but this really isn’t a good time now, can I call you back?” “No. Ariel! You don’t understand how crazy this is! After you saved me that day, out of inspiration for what you did, I signed up to be a Yedidim volunteer. I just saw an alert saying that someone needed keys brought from Bat Ayin to Jerusalem. I’m on my way to Jerusalem and I offered to help. A guy named David then gave me your number and when I dialed it your name came up. I can’t believe I am calling the man that saved me!”
Ariel was pleasantly surprised and gave Yitzchak his wife’s number enabling Yitzchak to get the keys. Yitzchak said that he was happy to return the kindness to Ariel and was headed over with the spare keys.
Ariel left Edna’s home and headed back to Yossi’s house. David had just arrived with Yossi in tow. On the phone, Yossi sounded annoyed. Yet, the Yossi that walked out of the car was smiling and happy. Ariel couldn’t understand what was going on. Was this the same man? David and Yossi told Ariel the following story.
Yossi had been divorced for many years, alone, and didn’t really connect with people. When Yossi got into David’s car they started talking and in the 20-minute ride from Yossi’s office to his home, David had told Yossi that he had just gotten divorced that morning. Yossi offered some emotional support to David. David said thank you and that he really appreciated the advice. Yossi felt so elated that he could help someone that his attitude had completely changed.
Yossi, David, and Ariel went inside and turned on the camera. While they were going through the footage they spotted the man that Ariel had asked to get his medical kit from Ariel’s trunk. The man had put the keys into his own pocket. Ariel tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and they took a screenshot of the man. They showed the photo to Edna and asked if she knew the mystery man. Edna confirmed that he was from the neighborhood but did not know his name. In an effort to help she began sharing the photo with her neighbors.
Just after 6:00 p.m., the group headed out onto the street to ask passersby if they could recognize the man. Just then Ariel saw a man coming towards him who looked like the man from the photo. As he approached Ariel recognized him as indeed he was the man from the picture.
The man, Nir, was holding Ariel’s keys. He looked at Ariel and said: “Thank God you are still here. Listen to my story. I was home with my daughter when I saw the terrible accident from my window. I told her that I would be right back and as I rushed out the door to see if I could help. By mistake, I banged the door on her forehead. She seemed ok, so I apologized and ran downstairs to help. You saw me and asked me to get your medical kit from the car. I put the keys in my pocket just for a minute to bring you the bag planning to hand you the keys. When I handed you the bag, I heard my daughter screaming from the porch. I ran back upstairs and saw that she was bleeding. I rushed her directly to an urgent care clinic. We got there and we were seen quickly. She got a few stitches and we just got back home now. That is when I saw my picture all over the local WhatsApp groups asking if anyone knows who I am and it then dawned on me that I still have your keys.”
While Nir was apologizing profusely to the gathered crowd, Yitzchak pulled up with the spare keys he had brought from Bat Ayin. Everyone looked at each other and Ariel began introducing everyone, and explaining the sheer divine beauty of how all these pieces came together.
At 8:00 p.m. that evening Ariel arrived home and told his wife what had happened and how he was so deeply touched by the entire story. He was amazed at how doing good compounds itself and creates more good in the world. The next day, still riding an emotional high, Ariel checked up on the man from the car accident and thankfully, he too was going to make a full recovery.