Learning from a Father's Empathy, 28 Years Later
--by BillK, posted Jun 21, 2009
On Sunday while I was having my own Father’s day celebration, I thought about my dad a lot. By the time I called to tell him that I loved him, he had already gone to bed. I was bumbed out a bit because of missing him so I thought I would write a little post about what my dad means to me.
My dad is that absolute most kindest man in the world. He would never hurt anyone intentionally and would give the shirt off his back in an instant. This made me reflect on a story about 28 years ago.
My dad was a used car salesman and owned his own car lot and body shop on several occasions. Every Thursday night, he would head off to Shreveport, LA to the auction. Most of the time, I drove a car over there for him so he could sell it at the auction.
Although this happened numerous times, I recall one incident on one of those trips to Shreveport. This time, I was riding with my dad to Shreveport for the auction when he spotted a hitch hiker with a backpack. As soon as dad saw him, he pulled the car over and offered him a ride. Dad asked him his name, told him ours, (there were four of us in the car) and proceeded to talk to him about all sorts of things. Dad told him we were heading to Shreveport so that was as far as we could take him. The hitchhiker graciously thanked him for his kind deed.
Once we got back on the interstate, Dad asked him where he was going. The hitchhiker told him he was headed out west. I can’t recall why but he told dad a lot of things that had occurred to him to make that decision. I sat in the back seat and watch the scene with amazement. I could see that the hitchhiker changed his attitude as he could tell someone was really listening to him. It was quite an exchange and I watched it as if I were taking notes and a pop quiz was to follow. I do know that it was quite cold outside and the hitchhiker was very happy to have a heater going.
We drove another forty-five minutes before we had to exit the interstate. We pulled over and dad told him to keep his head up and things would start looking up for him soon. He reached into his pocket and handed the hitchhiker a twenty dollar bill and then a ten dollar bill. The guy was beaming now. He nearly lit up right there on the cold, dark highway.
We drove on and my dad did not say a single thing. I was still completely amazed by what I just witnessed. I was always told by everyone to never pick up a hitchhiker and yet my dad did it every single time he saw one. I am sure that it made that poor man’s day, probably a month to follow. Dad always gave them money even if he did not have very much of his own.
While reflecting upon that story, I learned a lot about my dad and life. I learned that if you come from a place of service or compassion, you can change people’s lives. Just one single kind act can change someone’s life. It never occurred to my dad about not stopping to help him. He listened with empathy as the man poured out his guts about the tragic events that occurred to him several years before.
This is the type of person my dad is. Thank you dad for setting such high standards for me to follow.
Dad, I love you. Happy Father’s Day!
All this when he was v poor and always in debt himself.
We never knew he was in debt as well and he kept us off these things so that we could remain happy.
However, we were more angry about taking debts and keeping secrets rather than noticing these aspects which made him so Great !'
Thanks so much for this story which makes me appreciate my father, which I have rarely done in front of him.
~Smiles are Contagious
Thanks for sharing. God bless!