Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The hindrance of help.............

I did something so totally out of character yesterday it made me question myself! And in questioning myself, I realized just what a conflict we have when it comes to lending a helping hand and guarding our personal safety. Here's what happened. I was driving home from work. At a stoplight the car in front of me "waved" me on, to go around them, as they were stopped at the intersection. I pulled up alongside and saw a man, a bit older than me, alone, and asked him if he was ok (I  also noticed a handicapped placard on the rearview mirror). He said he had just run out of gas, so I  asked him if he needed some help and he said "I might!" I waited for him to pull his car over and pulled up behind him. He walked back to my car and I noticed a distinct limp when he walked. I asked if he wanted help to push his car further off the road but he said he couldn't because he had a "bum leg" from being hit by a car less than a year ago. We talked about his situation. My first thought was just to offer to run and get him some gas at a local station, but then he said he had a gas can at home, it wasn't far, and would I be willing to give him a ride? He was hesitant when he asked - obviously we both sized up the situation - nobody wants to allow a stranger in their car, right? And neither did I. I'm not even sure why I said yes, but I did and he got in the car. I honestly thought, well, here we go, this is how it ends! I could NOT believe how stupid I was to allow a total stranger in my car. Yet, there I was driving this guy to his house, then the gas station, then back to his car, all the while chatting it up like we had known each other forever. Turns out he had been hit by a car while working with a landscaping business. The driver never stopped. He spent eight months in the hospital getting his leg and face reconstructed. Eight surgeries in eight months. He hasn't worked since and is still recovering. And he just settled a lawsuit for a sum that will change his life forever. He said before the accident he just went about his life without giving much thought to anyone else. He said he'd have never stopped to help someone who ran out of gas. But he said "I believe in karma, and this accident changed my priorities. People like you, doing a good deed, that's how I'm living my life now." He also mentioned that his mother had died exactly one year previous to his accident. She had told him, on her deathbed, that she was going to be his guardian angel (she had always loved angels and collected figurines of angels). And he believed she was his guardian angel that day, because being hit at 45 mph and left for dead, he was not expected to survive. But he did. And for some reason, our paths crossed yesterday and he told me his story. Yeah, I took a gamble picking up and helping a total stranger. But I heard a great story of perserverance and hope. Read more about the accident here: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/78583537.html.

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