Tag Archives: strangers

Pay It Forward Paid Off

20 Feb

There are nice people out there.  Just when I start to feel like impatient, inconsiderate and irrational strangers are all I encounter, a young boy with hip clothes, spikey hair and a cool earring notices someone in need and comes to the rescue.

Ok, so it’s not like I was a damsel in distress or anything that serious – I was more a lady blocked at a turn-stall.  Being a novice at riding mass-transit, I touched my card to open my turn-stall but I was standing at the wrong one.  That meant my paid ticket had been used and I was stuck while a crowd formed behind and Andrew and Nate were a few steps ahead on the other side of the stalls.  That’s when the kind kid held his card through the stall for me to use.  Just like that.  He saw someone struggling and he made a simple, thoughtful gesture.

I think of this experience as a “pay it forward” that paid off because, just a few hours before this, a homeless man asked Andrew if he could spare any money and Andrew opened his wallet and gave the man all he had.  Whether it was the right thing to do or not, the man was so grateful and it felt good to help.  I hope that kid got the same feeling when he helped me.  I really appreciated it.

My Knight in Starched Khakis

21 Oct

She is just a little more than five miles away from her sister’s house when the beyond-bald tires on her beat up, old mini-van decide they couldn’t carry her family anymore.  The tires, like her, are worn out.  Sharing the load of moving from Michigan to Georgia – they both have been pushed to their limits.

“Now this?  Now this is going to happen?” she thinks as she looks for a safe place to pull over.  The tire blew out a few seconds ago but she tries to keep pressing on – like she’s been doing since they first started struggling.

Her four young children are both frightened and interested in what’s happening.  Two started to cry.  The other two ask non-stop questions.  She feels the same way – plus – helpless. She doesn’t know how to change a tire – she can’t afford a tow truck – isn’t a member of AAA.

Then, she hears a voice, offering to help.

Within minutes, he has her van up on the jack and the tire off but he can’t get the spare out of the trunk.  He thinks about giving her his but it doesn’t fit.  Instead, he calls AAA and explains the situation.

The children would have to wait almost an hour.  When he offers to drive her and the children to her sister’s house so they don’t have to be the situation any longer, she was a little nervous to accept but he didn’t give her any reason to doubt his kindness, plus, he had two child car seats in the back – he must be ok.

She’s so overcome with gratitude and emotion that she can’t believe that she told him, “Of course you’re married!  All the good ones are taken!”

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He thinks he’s just stuck behind yet another driver going way below the speed limit on the two lane road to his work.  He feels bad when he sees the old mini-van cautiously pull over to the side.

He knows he has to be at work, but something in him compels him to make sure people are ok.

Little does he know, this is going to be so much more than a tire change.  When he sees the four children, he immediately thinks of his own wife and kids and – what if.  What if they were stranded on the side of a busy road with no one to call for help?  He has to do what he can to get them out of this situation.

He doesn’t think it’s going to be hard to do.  He just has to change a tire -something he’s done more times than he can remember.  But this time is a little different.  The van’s emergency brake doesn’t work and (for mechanical reasons the writer doesn’t grasp) the mom has to stay in the van with her foot on the brake. He finally gets the van on the jack but then he can’t free the spare from its compartment.

Knowing he can’t leave them like that, he calls AAA for a tow truck.  They tell him he will have to be there when the driver arrives in order for her to get the tow without a charge.  He knows it will take about an hour for the tow truck driver to show up so he offers to drive the family where they are headed.  He worries about how the four children will safely fit in his small backseat but rationalizes it would be more dangerous for them to be where they are now.

In the end, the family safely reaches their destination and the Knight in Starched (and now slightly dirty) Khakis makes it to work.  He knows the family still has to figure out how they will pay for the van’s repairs, but he hopes that he helped take a little of the burden off their shoulders – at least for one morning.

 

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