Saturday, January 24, 2009

Because They Still Exist

Good Samaritans are hard to find these days. Someone stoops to pick up something you've dropped, and you're taken by surprise because you assumed he'd just keep on walking like everyone else. A neighbor stops by to borrow an egg. You all the sudden feel heroic because by providing the needed product, you've aided mankind. Maybe it takes a little more to be a "Good Samaritan," you've noticed. "Random Acts of Kindness" aren't everyday things anymore. People actually have to write books about them to remind people they still exist.

A lot has happened since December, and I'm sorry for not updating you on all of the events. The Reader's Digest version is that I finished Student Teaching, got terribly sick (cold, sinus infection, flu...) and not much else has happened. One thing I did want to make sure I told you about, though, was a random act of kindness that truly blessed me this past week.

I had my final meeting with the head of the Education Program at Concordia on Tuesday. I was a little annoyed because I had to drive all the way out to Irvine (1.5 hour trip one way) for what I had been told was only supposed to be about a 10 minute meeting. I had tried to cancel to see if I could perhaps arrange a meeting at a time when I could do some other things in the area on the same day, but it didn't work out. I was excited that my friend Emily was coming later that day to spend the next few days with me (she figured she'd better take advantage of my non-workingness as quickly as she could) and was eager to get home before she arrived.

Less than a mile from home on the return trip, my car died. Flat out completely dead on Hwy 19--which isn't only a highway, but the main street in Rosemead as well. I was in the left lane and didn't have any warning that my car was about to kapoot, so I was stranded. I opened the hood assuming that my car had overheated, and since I didn't have any water with me, I ran across the street to the gas station there so that I could refill my radiator tank. When I got back to my car, there was a police officer parked behind it and walking around looking for the driver. He told me to get back in the car so that he could push me to the nearest side street. As soon as I was safely pulled alongside a red curb, he waved to me and drove away with no further assistance or advice.

I waited for my car to cool down a little bit and then decided to try it again. It started up just fine, so I pulled a U-turn to get back on the main street and head home. I stayed in the right-hand lane just in case, and sure enough, at the next light, my car died again. I freaked out and called Jesse, unsure of what else I should do. He told me to find someone to help me. There was no one on foot around, and every driver cast dirty looks at me as he sped past. Jesse said a quick prayer for us that someone would be around to help, and encouraged me again to call out to the first person I saw.

When I looked up, there was a young guy walking past in a work uniform.
"Excuse me," I yelled out the window, "can you please help me push my car?"
He got right behind my car and pushed it out of the intersection. When I parked, he ran around to the front. He asked me to pop the hood, and in a minute was checking every dirty little thing under it. A car pulled up behind us and out jumped a 77 year old man named Ted. He introduced himself and his son, Chris, and joined Chris under the hood. As they worked, Ted talked to me. I told him how thankful I was for them, and about how Jesse had prayed that someone would come along to help me. "God was looking out for you," Ted said from under the hood. "I know He was!" I answered whole-heartedly. They worked for a few minutes and then asked me to try the car again. It started up, but as soon as I turned the car around to get back on the street, it died again. Ted and Chris drove up behind me again and got back to work.

Long story short, the car died about three more times, and Chris kindly offered to drive it home for me. Ted followed behind in his own car, and when we got to our house, they both started looking at the car again. I was surprised by this and expected them to leave, but they kept on working. After a while, they said they were going to go to the store to pick up some things for my car and they would be back. They returned about an hour later with a few things and went back to work.

I watched in amazement as two complete strangers devoted 4 hours of their day to me that afternoon. I didn't ask anything more from them than a simple push to get me out of the intersection, but they blessed me by getting me home safely and finding out what was wrong with my car. When they finally finished, they almost left without anything from me. I had to beg for the receipts to reimburse them for their purchases, and when I asked what I could pay them for their hard work, Chris shrugged and said "10 bucks."

Well, I sent them home with a check for much more than that, but I still can't believe what a blessing they were to me that day. Sometimes I despair about the temperament of the people I meet on the streets. I wonder what happened to the good old souls, the ones who would do things without expecting anything in return. Tuesday made me even look into myself and desire to be a more giving person as a whole. If two strangers can give so much of themselves to me, I can will to be more generous to those I know.

Jesse called Chris and Ted today. They left their phone numbers with me just in case the car breaks down again. We wanted to call them to invite them over for dinner. They accepted, and we're looking forward to seeing them this upcoming Tuesday. I'm excited to be able to see them again, to talk with them, and to share our common love for Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. wow that is so wonderful! I am inspired to be more of a Samaritan myself!


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