Sunday, December 21, 2008

Doing good things can feel so good

I was reading this a few days ago and I started thinking about the acts of kindness I've performed over the years. Freshmen year when I chatted up a woman who was waiting for a cab at 2am on an empty campus. Helping the young girl my friends and I encountered walking down the street late one night (in her prom dress). This past Black Friday when I helped a woman out by putting a trampoline she bought into the back of her SUV. It would seem I have another one to add to the list.

I live in what people call the boondocks. By that I mean that in order to get anything beyond the bare necessities I still have to "go to town". When I do this I have two choices on where to go. East or West. For as long as I can remember I've always gone west. In fact I had not gone beyond 10 miles east of my house in over 10 years. Well a married couple I hang out with wrecked their car (the deer around here are like no other) and needed to get a rental replacement while it was in for repairs. I agreed to take them to the rental spot which was 1 hour east. Why not I haven't been out there in over 10 years. It would seem that it was a good thing I did.

After finishing up with my friends and taking time to ponder life while staring out at the ocean from the beach (yeah I live barely 1 hour away from The Outer Banks in North Carolina and have not been out there in that long) I head back home. Just to give a description of the 60 miles 40 of them are a stretch of road where there is NOTHING but woods and canals deep enough for cars to totally sink into on both sides, soft shoulders, and wild animals (namely bear, wolves, foxes). Not only that but NO cell phone service works in this space. I'll put it to you like this: My dad is a 59 year old retired cop and he won't drive back there at night unless it is the dire straits emergency.

So anyway I'm heading back with just enough time to cross that 40 mile stretch before sundown (I spent too much time at the beach) and I see an SUV and a family of five on the side of the road stuck in the mud at the start of said 40 mile stretch. With their luggage and Christmas presents out on the ground it looks like they had tried to push it out but to no avail. One of them was trying use her cell phone but her carrier doesn't work in that area. I offer help in the form of my cell phone to call for a tow truck. After about a 45-minute wait a tow truck came and got them out of the mud and they were on their way.

It was a good thing that they had gotten stuck where they were. If they had been about 20 miles further east (where even my cell phone would not have worked) and about 1 hour later (after sundown) their is no telling what would have happened to them (they were from Florida so they had no clue about the area). Interesting that going that way for the first time in over ten years put me in a position to help a stranded family out.

It didn't cross my mind to respond to their offer of payment with anything uplifting and spiffy like, "Just pay it forward.", but I'm sure that wasn't the main point here right? Just a simple "No thanks." and off I went.