I Helped A Stranger

I used to live in a small city in NJ.  To get to my house I used to have to drive through a transitional neighborhood that had commercial and residential areas clustered together.  

One evening I was coming home and had just turned onto the main road when I noticed a truck pulled over to the side of the road.  The driver was outside the truck frantically trying to get passing motorists’ attention, but he looked so agitated that no one would stop.  I’m not sure why, but I stopped right next to him and rolled down the passenger side window.  He rushed up to my car and blurted out that he had been driving around the area for five hours searching for a certain company to make a delivery and he was running out of time.  I asked what company he was looking for and he told me the name of a company I’d never heard of, but according to him it should be on a street a few blocks away. 

I thought he was serious and not dangerous, but I had never even heard of the place he was looking for.  Feeling really bad for him, I told him, sorry, I didn’t know the place he was looking for.  And I pulled away.  My last glimpse of him was of a man frustrated and close to tears with frustration.  I got about a block and realized that I couldn’t just turn my back on him the way hundreds of other motorists already had.  The street he was looking for was only three blocks away, so I turned my car down it and started looking for the name of the outfit he was looking so desperately for. 

It took me three or four trips up and down the street to find the small, crabbed sign with the name of his quarry on it.  In the gathering darkness it was difficult to see, and in another fifteen minutes it would have been impossible to find.  I drove back to where I’d seen him and pulled up next to him the way I did a few minutes earlier.  He leaned into my window and I started describing how to find the place he was looking for, but I quickly realized that, in his apoplectic state, he’d never find it.  So I told him to follow me. 

Two minutes later I pulled up in front of the place and stopped.  I got out of my car and made sure that he saw the sign and knew it was what he was looking for.  He looked at once like a man who had witnessed a miracle and someone who had been rescued from a desert island.  He thanked me profusely for a solid minute, saying a dozen times, “God BLESS you, Sir!” 

I felt blessed.  Hundreds of people had driven by him before I came along.  Why did I stop?  I still don’t really know.  As I drove home I got a very clear picture of there being an OCEAN of trouble and pain and misery in the world.  Most of it passes unnoticed by everyone but the person suffering, but that night I felt like I had reduced that reservoir by a thimble full, and that had been enough to make two people happy.  

Y’know what?  It’s our world.  We can make it as cold or as loving as we want it….a thimble full at a time.

arcangelll arcangelll
51-55, M
Mar 13, 2010