This is a story of an everyday event which turned out to be a lovely exchange of courtesy and kindness. It could have been a story of how bothersome a flat tire can be. Instead, it is a story of how strangers came together to support each other just because they could…
It all started when my neighbour asked me to drive him to the doctor’s office just a few blocks away. I said yes. Knowing my tire needed attension, I made sure it was inflated enough to make the short trip and while my neighbour went inside I went on to inflate it.
As I approached it with my handy dandy compressor, I could hear the air escaping out – this was new! At that point I knew it was not a good thing. I suspected inflating the tire would not be possible so, reluctantly, I proceeded to put on the spare. I began the process by loosening the bolts and, as I was doing that, I saw a young man walking down the sidewalk. I briefly thought of asking him for help but concluded that he was too young to know stuff…
In just a few moments I heard a voice say: "do you need any help?" I looked up and saw the same young man standing at an intersection about 30 feet away waiting for my answer. 'Wow! That’s awesome!' I thought. “If you don’t mind, I would love your help” I replied with relief in my voice.
As it turned out, his dad is a car mechanic so, of course, he knew stuff! Never judge a book by its age, eh?
Well, the car got jacked up, the bolts were all off…but the wheel would not come off as it was frozen in place (the car sat outside, undriven, for the past three and a half days). The young man called his dad for advice which was to turn that wheel all the way outward and kick it from the inside. The only tools we had were our arms and feet. So, I turned the wheels, he laid down on the snow (-17 C wind-chill; that's 1.4 F) and gave it his best shot; quite a few shots actually, with his boots to the wheel while I was pooling on the darn thing from the other side. No way was it going to come off!
I realised we could not do much more at that point and began to think how I was going to get my neighbour back home, who by this time watched us struggle for some 20 minutes. This is a man who always helps everyone else around, but due to his current condition all he could do was watch.
During the pulling and kicking, I took notice of a car pulling into the back yard of a brick house directly across the street from where I was parked. So, with determination and a hopeful heart, I marched across the street and rang the doorbell. After just a few moments a lovely young woman, probably in her 30’s, opened the door and patiently listened to my story. In her face I saw kind eyes and a gentle smile. She said softly: “Just a moment; I will ask my husband”. When the door reopened her face was lit up as she told me her husband would drive my neighbour home.
After a short while the car that only a few minutes ago arrived in the back yard was on the move again. The husband pulled around to the front street and, as I opened the passenger door to help my neighbour get in, I expressed my gratitude and appreciation of the fact that this man just got home (from work most likely) and was willing to get his boots and jacket right back on and do this favour for people he did not know. Later I found out that while he was playing chauffeur, he also played Christmas songs - just for my neighbour!
In the meantime, I stayed with my disabled car and the young man who insisted on staying until all my stuff was put back in the trunk and the bolts were back on the deflated tire. Then he continued his journey to visit a friend, but not before he offered me a big hug and well-wishes!
It was dark, cold, my hands were freezing as my gloves were wet, my thighs were getting that pinchy/stingy feeling from the cold wind, but my face was dressed in a big smile and my heart was filled with joy and amazement – none of the uncomfortable physical sensations mattered at all!
My walk home was filled with concocting a way to show my appreciation to those lovely strangers who, so willingly, helped in a time of need on a cold winter's night - without hesitation!
I was able to call the young man’s dad to tell him what a wonderful son he has raised. And there was a little gift and a card with a ‘thank you’ note delivered to the brick house across the street.
Though, understandably, it can be difficult to see some times, we are surrounded by love, kindness, and generosity of spirit. All we need is to try to see it and eventually, invariably we will...
The best things in life are those intangible gifts we can give to each other. And we don’t have to buy them in order to give them, they are always in stock, never out of date and the shipping is free…and the supply is endless. Truly, the Universe is filled with gifts for all; always and in all ways!
Wishing you many blessings, joy and gladness, and please share your story of intangible gifts in the comments below.
About the Author
In early Spring of 2011, as I sat with my journal at a family cabin, I felt the seed of my creative writing come through from beneath the surface. As I picked up my pen to begin my first journal entry, I felt a feeling of profound peace and indescribable comfort. All was well. I felt I was Home - finally!