Colossians 3:12 reminds us we are called to “Clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” all of which a stranger extended to me recently.
Shortly before 6 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 8, I drove to a convenience store a half mile from my home to buy gasoline and a newspaper. I pulled my 2001 Chevy Outback up alongside pump five, went inside to pay for my gas and newspaper, and minutes later returned to my car. When I turned the key to start my car, nothing happened. The ‘ole sloppy jalopy was dead.
I turned the key three more times. However, a faint click, click, click sound was all I heard. I sat for a few moments, wondering what the problem could be. After all, this rusting bucket of bolts turned over just fine before leaving my driveway minutes before, so, what gives? At that moment I experienced the sinking feeling of being stranded alone on a dark, windy morning.
I ventured back into the store and asked the cashier, Nathan Moore, if I could use the phone to call my wife, Peggy, and explain what had happened. Nathan obliged.
I admit, my knowledge of automotive technology couldn’t fill even a thimble. However, I believed the battery had enough spark to turn the car over and asked Nathan for a jump. Following his shift, he did just that. Indeed, the battery did have a bit ‘o juice as some of the dashboard lights lit up momentarily. However, it wasn’t enough to revive my aging clunker.
After packing up his jumper cables, Nathan singlehandedly pushed my vehicle (with me steering) into one of the stores’ parking spaces. After catching his breath, he drove me home. Although grateful, I felt I had imposed on this kindhearted Samaritan who no doubt had better things to do than assist this helpless correspondent. But, he stayed with me to the end.
After I returned home, Peggy asked our neighbor, Ed, to tow our vehicle from the convenience store back to our house. He too, happily obliged. Not 15 minutes later, Peggy and Ed returned with our car, dead, but intact.
The next day we had our junk heap towed to a nearby service station where Peggy and I learned we needed both a new battery and fuel pressure regulator. Naturally, we were relieved the problem wasn’t more severe, and that towing and repair costs were reasonable. Whew!
We thanked both Ed and Nathan for their kindness. However, the generosity of these fellas touched me to where a mere thank you wasn’t enough payback. That’s when I realized readers might benefit from my early morning experience and the generosity of these two guys.
Let’s face it, acts of kindness often are overshadowed in today’s negative society. In a world filled with protest violence, racial inequality and civil disorder, it’s refreshing to know such acts are in keeping with our new commander-in-chief’s vision of working together to heal our broken nation. I wonder if these men are Democrats.
So, Nathan and Ed, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your kindness. You were a beacon of light during a time of uncertainty, and I hope my extending kindness to others will help pay back what you gave me. God bless you and thank you for the best-ever Christmas gift.
William J. Dagendesh is an author, writer and retired U.S. Navy photojournalist and editor. He has lived in southern Colorado 21 years. Contact William with comments or ideas for his column at firstname.lastname@example.org.