This afternoon, after grueling day of work, I found myself inching along I-405 during rush-hour stop-and-start traffic when my car broke down. I was in the middle lane and couldn’t make it to the shoulder. Honestly, I was scared out of my mind. My car has never broken down before and there I was- alone, at a standstill, in the middle of 405 at 5:30 p.m.
I was frantically dialing my cell phone, trying to reach my brother or parents to figure out what the heck to do when the most amazing woman stopped, got out of her car and asked me, “Are you OK?” She then proceeded to go out of her way to help me and for that I am so incredibly grateful.
Within the short amount of time I spent with her, I could tell she was the kind of person I aspire to be: caring, unselfish, smart, compassionate. I thanked her profusely, but I wish I had gotten her full name so I could send her a thank you gift. I’m looking back and thinking about all the cars that passed me without a second thought before she came and then wonder, were the tables turned, would I have stopped to help someone else? I realize that not many people would have stopped, let alone do all that she did for me. In the end, I know her good deed will not go unrewarded- nor forgotten.
This simple act of kindness is inspiring and eye-opening for me. Knowing what is “right” and what is “wrong” is one thing, but being able to act selflessly and realize the impact that a small (or big) good deed can make on someone’s life is another. It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves, to forget that everyone else in this world is trying to do the same thing as you: get by. Sometimes it takes moments like these to help us learn to slow down, look around, and reach out a helping hand to someone in need.
[written June 2011]