In so many of our life circumstances we encounter the sad reality that our fellow man can be fearful, self-consumed and sometimes indifferent to the needs of others. The news is full of examples of how people can be abusive, angry, cynical and sometimes even violent. It can be extremely discouraging at times and it makes us wonder what happened to our society?
Then there are those moments where our faith in friends, neighbors and even strangers is restored because of random acts of kindness. I had such an experience this past week and just found it encouraging enough to share it.
In the northern suburbs of Philadelphia last week we were having one of those storms that had snow, ice and freezing rain. The evening temperature was rising and the roads seemed rather clear. I was on my way home from an enjoyable caregiving time with two wonderful children that my wife and I see weekly. I was driving on a road at night where I could not see if there was ice ahead but it looked clear enough. In fact the road seemed quite clear of any moisture.
I was cautious but not concerned about my surroundings when suddenly I hit a large patch of black ice. My vehicle spun in circles and I totally lost control. After spinning around I ended up in a very muddy ditch with my tires buried in ice and mud. I was fortunate and It could have been so much worse. After a few attempts to get out of the ditch by rocking back and forth, I found myself very stuck and unable to move. I called for assistance and was waiting to be towed out of the ditch.
A neighbor came out, checked to see if I was hurt, went back to his house to get a flashlight and decided to stay with me on that very cold evening until help arrived. Then I was extremely surprised and impressed by the fact that almost everyone who passed by me going in either direction on this icy road stopped and asked if there was any way they could help. In just a few minutes there must have been at least 15 individuals who stopped, some even got out of their vehicle to ask if I was ok and if there was anything they could do to help me. It was difficult to call for help because I was having to assure everyone that I was ok and did not need assistance.
This dear neighbor stood with me and once I was towed out he was celebrating that I got out of the ditch with arms raised and cheering! I don’t think he thought that was going to a possibility since my vehicle was so buried in the mud. This was an event that I wouldn’t wish on anyone but these kinds of negative occurrences often are brought into our lives so that we have the privilege of receiving support. It seems to awaken us to many wonderful people who are so willing to stop, sacrifice, give and care for those in need.
Similarly, today I walked into a convenience store and on my way in I heard a woman trying to start her car. It appeared that her battery was dead. I went into the store and I thought of all the kind folks that stopped and offered help to me. When I exited the store she and her daughter were still there. I went to her car and asked if her battery was dead. She said it was and I told her that I had portable charger with me. I could charge her battery enough to get the SUV running and she was able to go home. She was so grateful and I too was encouraged. It is the nature of kindness to encourage us. It can be contagiously resonant. Those individuals who stopped both encouraged me and inspired me to pay forward what had been given to me. It is the nature of kindness to encourage, inspire and be a positive catalyst to help those in need. It is such a great motivator for us all.