Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pay It Forward

I believe in helping people. I don't have to do anything grand. It might just be opening a door for a lady with a stroller, or offering to help carry someones groceries. I like to think that if I help someone they'll be inclined to help another person and so on and so on and so on. The world is becoming a mean place and I don't like it. I wish everyone got along and I wish that people were kinder to one another. I don't judge people by the way they look or the language they speak or the church they attend or don't attend. I look at it like this...people are people. We're not clones so our diversity is what makes us special.

A while back I had the opportunity to help someone. I was visiting a place about 15 miles from my home and it was late at night. I was approached by an older woman asking directions to the local mass transit station. I was worried for her because I felt that she didn't need to be out that late at night by herself. I asked her where she was headed and it turned out that she was going a few miles from my home. So I offered to take her to her car at the transit station. She seemed genuinely surprised that wanted to take her but she also seemed relieved that she wouldn't have to travel by herself.

I wasn't worried about anything bad happening for some reason. I felt like she was a good person and really appreciated my offer. We had a very nice visit on the way home and I was very glad that I had offered her a ride. Some people would say I was crazy for offering a total stranger a ride late at night (Mr. Wonderful included, since he's a cop and is wary of setups) and maybe I was, but it felt right so I went with it. The lady thanked me profusely and offered to give me money for gas. I wouldn't accept any. She asked me what she could do to thank me and I told her to pay it forward and help someone else one day soon.

I don't know where the urge to help her came from. Nor do I know where the courage to do so came from, but I'm sure glad I did it. I remember a day when I was 15 and was walking home from school. We were experiencing a record breaking heat wave and I started feeling faint as I was walking. I stopped in a Subway sandwich shop to cool off for a few minutes. The dizziness didn't fade very much and I must have looked pretty sad because a lady with her kid asked me if I was OK. She ended up offering me a ride home. I was scared and remembered the rule about not accepting rides from strangers but she assured that she was just a mom with her kid and that no kid toting mom would kidnap a high school girl. I accepted the ride and made it home in about 5 minutes. Was I ever grateful to that lady.

Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that event and that's why I helped the lady I gave the ride to. All I know is that I can rest easy knowing that she made it back to her car unharmed, and I did something good for someone. That's all I need.

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