At the risk of sounding boastful, I want to share a story of a good deed. It was my “What would you do?” moment and I’m sharing it because I want people to know that someone cares and good deeds happen by strangers all the time.
I was driving with my teenage daughter on a busy two lane road (about 5:30 PM) and I noticed an elderly man in a wheelchair on the road’s shoulder. His wheelchair looked stuck and his head was hanging as if he’d had a stroke or was extremely tired. It was getting a little nippy out and the traffic was getting heavier, but this poor guy was sitting there on the road’s shoulder, which wasn’t more than a piece of broken-up concrete. My daughter and I looked at each other and it was a “What would you do?” moment. Keep driving? Or…turn around and help?
You guessed it.
We turned the car around. I pulled up alongside him and asked if he was okay. I heard a low murmur, “My battery’s dead.” That’s when I knew I couldn’t drive away. I pulled over and we walked toward him. He looked to be an elderly man, in his 80’s (?) with one leg and a thin jacket on. At this point, thoughts crossed my mind about stranger danger. After all, I grew up in a big city where you NEVER picked up a stranger, regardless how frail they looked. (Old Grandma could have a semi tucked under her shawl…) I said a silent prayer and asked God to help me make the right decision here.
At first, I asked him if there was anyone I could call for him. His face revealed the answer before he uttered a word. “No,” he answered quietly. Either there was no one to call or he’d forgotten their phone number. His eyes looked away, as if I would leave it at that and go home.
What would you do?
I felt God’s peace here and asked, “Can I give you a ride home?”
His eyes lit up and he looked a little in shock. “Really?” I said he’d have to help me figure out how to dismantle his wheelchair and how to get him in my car. He said he would just hop over and he’d explain what to do. I popped my trunk and he hopped right over to the back bumper, where he sat down and gave me instructions. Then he hopped over to the side of my car and got in the back seat.
I had NO IDEA how heavy wheelchair batteries are! There were two of them and each had to weigh at least twenty pounds! The wheelchair wasn’t too hard to collapse – similar to a stroller from years ago when I had to figure that one out – and it was heavy too. I was lucky my daughter was with me and helped me lift that thing. I honestly don’t know how people lift these in and out of cars all the time for their loved ones. Now, THAT’S love.
His house was just a few blocks over and my daughter and I introduced ourselves. He said his name was Fred and he thanked me repeatedly. I asked him, “So, Fred, where were you heading?”
“What did you want to buy?”
He replied, “Cigarettes.”
I half-joked, “Well, Fred, maybe this was a sign to quit smoking, eh?”
He laughed at that and by then we were at his house. We unloaded the wheelchair and got him situated. Fred thanked us again several times and we said our good-byes.
My “What would you do?” moment stayed with me the rest of the week and I’ll probably never forget Fred. I felt blessed meeting him and he reminded me that we all live on this same planet and, while we may not know each other, we can help each other. We are all God’s children.