When I was 18, I was going to the local college in my town. Not having a car of my own, my mother was gracious enough to let me share hers so that I didn’t have to ride the bus with all the crazies. Because we shared the car, I would take her to work in the morning and then come home and get ready for class myself. Because I like to sleep and am lazy, I would often take her to work in my pajamas (usually without a bra). That’s okay, because when I was 18 they were upright and perky.
At this time our car had been having trouble with the alternator. The battery kept dying on me and it took this incident to get my dad to replace it. I was driving home from just having dropped off my Mom at work. I was on one of the main streets in my city and it was very crowded with rush hour traffic. All of a sudden my car lost power. Luckily I was on a hill and could kind of coast my way down to a 7-11 at the bottom of the hill. Back then, cell phones weren’t that common and luckily I had enough change on me to call my Mom at work. She couldn’t really do anything about it because she was without a car herself so she called my Grandpa and he agreed to come and pick me up.
While I was standing there waiting for my grandpa, this lady came up to me who had been getting gas moments before. She must have seen the distraught look on my face. I probably was crying because I over-react to stressful situations. She said hello to me and then handed me some money. She told me that I looked like I had had a pretty rough morning and told me to use the money to go and get myself a cup of coffee and a donut. It was probably because she was so nice to me that I blurted out my story of my battery dying and waiting for my Grandpa and now I’m late for class and I’m still in my pajamas and it’s cold outside. She told me that her daughter was a college freshman up in Idaho and offered to use her car to come and jump start my car. She did this for me (I had no idea how to hook up the jumper cables) and stayed with me until my Grandpa came. Then she disappeared and I never saw her again. My grandpa followed me home to make sure the car didn’t die again. Thankfully after that my Dad agreed it was the alternator and I never had another incidence like that again.
I couldn’t believe at the time what that total stranger did for me that morning. She was just getting gas and saw a distraught girl and decided to do something to make her day a little better, even if it was just a cup of coffee and a donut. When I told her what was wrong with my car, she could have said that she hoped it worked out for me and left, but she went out of her way to help me jump my car and get me back on the road. It was her kind deed that made me decide right then and there to stop being so selfish and to notice the people around me. I hope one day I can return the favor by helping a stranger in need. On this cold morning this stranger showed me the meaning of charity.
It reminds me of a scripture from the New Testament:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
-Matthew 25: 35 – 40