This story came to me, courtesy of my dear friend Joe M. in Palm Springs, CA. It perhaps, may be one that has been seen before via the internet. Regardless, it brought tears to my eyes on the magnificence of life and how everything is powered by Love:
One day, a man saw an old lady stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes Benz and got out. His old Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.
Even with a smile on his face, she was worried. She held her non-functioning cell phone in hand, it was in pieces after she had dropped it stepping out of her sedan earlier. But she didn’t want this approaching man to know this, just in case….No one had stopped to help her for the past hour! Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look threatening; he looked poor and hungry.
He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said “I’m here to help you Ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack. It was a very large and new smelling car, and he skinned his knuckles a time or two, breathing heavy as he jacked up the even heavier car. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.
As he was tightening up the lug nuts, the window dropped down and she began to talk to him. She told him that she was from Chicago and was only just passing through. She didn’t want him to know that she couldn’t figure out the confusing navigation system in her car, as she normally didn’t “drive”. Why didn’t she just bring a gosh-darn map? She had gotten lost and wound up on this desolate road when the tire went flat. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as the trunk closed automatically. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.
He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added ‘And think of me…’
He gave her directions to get back on the interstate, and he waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan…
After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went into the back to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. The she noticed something written on the napkin.
There were tears in her astounded eyes when she read what the lady wrote: ‘You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too…Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let the chain of love end with you.’
Under the napkin there were 9 more $100 bills. Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed? With the baby due in weeks, it was going to be hard…
She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, ‘Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.’…
The rain pours on every seed and does not wait to see which daffodils make use of the gift. The rain moves on to other buried treasures, other hills, other gardens below the earth waiting for love. We really never know who receives our gifts.
-Journal entry from Tama Kieves