Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Grabbing the Opportunity Before it Passed

--by nicrobalex, posted Oct 14, 2010

I came across HelpOthers one afternoon at work and I left my office that day filled with inspiration, wondering how I could make a difference in someone's life, even if only for a moment.  I'm in a period of transition moving to a new home as a single parent with three children, finances are tight, my mom is fighting ovarian cancer, my sister has been laid off, my ex-husband is out of work.  Life is less than rosy for me right now and I was eager for an opportunity, quite honestly just to feel better about life and make someone else feel better.  I was eager to give.

As I left the parking lot, I made my way down the street towards my home.  It was an especially hot day even at this late hour of the afternoon.  I stopped at an intersection and idly watched a young woman make her way through the heat.  I noticed she was limping and that the weight of the sun and the distance that lay ahead were visible on her face.

I realized that I knew her from work and figured out that she must be walking home.  I also knew why she was limping she had had a bad car crash with a fatality with much time required for her and her family for recovery.  I debated whether to honk and at least say hello, but I didn't want to startle her.  Still, I was overwhelmed with the desire to reach out to her.  I lightly tapped my horn and she slightly moved her head my way, but then kept walking without looking up.  I had just seconds before my light would turn green and I would have to go and she would be gone…so this would be the opportunity.  I recalled from some of the stories I read earlier that day that so much can change for the good in just one moment, and when you least expect it, you have a chance to reach out to someone else.  So I grabbed it.

I made an unexpected right turn to follow her.  Even as I pulled up next to her, I felt strange doing something so completely unplanned and something that was perhaps, by her, unwanted.

She stopped and turned to look as I came near, squinting, unsure, until she recognized me, smiled and said hello.  I offered her a ride and she at first declined, it seemed more in an attempt to avoid being a burden.  What she didn't know is that I wanted to do this, to take my mind off of what burdened me.  I guess I needed to give her a ride as much or more than she actually needed one!

When she accepted, I felt grateful that she did.  We chit-chatted on the way to her house, and I offered her rides whenever she needed them in the future, knowing she no longer had use of a car.

She smiled, looking slightly surprised and appreciative of the offer.  As I did this, I remember feeling that this shouldn't feel so strange -- reaching out to someone you otherwise don't really see or talk to -- and I was glad to be exercising this kindness "muscle."  I realized that it's much easier helping others when directly asked and takes real effort to help unasked, to grab that moment before it passes.  It would have been much "easier" to just keep driving that day and go about my business...

I'm glad I didn't.

I wonder if she realized how much she was helping me by letting me be of service.  A simple ride home was much more than that for me.  She thanked me for the ride when she stepped out of my car and wished me a good day.  But in my mind, she was the one who needed to be thanked.

Who knows if I'll ever be in a position to give her a ride again, but how nice it was to simply open that door, literally, and just let someone know that I care.  And how very odd that when you set your mind to helping, within minutes...the opportunity "presents" itself.  What a gift.

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Readers Comments

LINA wrote: Thankyou for all of these i decided to use them for my project
pluto178 wrote: Kindness is on a loop which comes back to you with time i look forward to hearing how life improves for you too. Good luck to you and your family x
success wrote: Very nice story. I know that what you did also took courage for fear of being rejected, bothering her, or startling her.
Pali Raj wrote: Yes, our act of kindness softens our heart every-time and give us tremendous satisfaction of doing something worth!
Maryjersey wrote: How fleeting the opportunities to give are. But you did it! Thank you for the reminder that if i think about something too long or too hard. Away goes the opportunity to give a gift to someone else. And a gift to myself. Again, thank you for that reminder.
Spoonerism wrote: Glad you had the awareness to act in the moment. As you noticed, the opportunity would have been gone seconds later! And even though she didn't know it, the kindness was both ways! ;-) welcome!
MakeSomeoneSmile wrote: Good for you for recognizing the opportunity but more importantly doing something. Keep up the great work! :)
unknown wrote: Strangely, I needed to give her a ride as much or more perhaps than she actually needed one. Nicrobalex, not many gets this perspective so easily ... You are going deeper and most importantly translating your beautiful thoughts to action ... Wonderful Nicro :) smiles together :):)
Aurelia wrote: Welcome Nicrobalex! I am so happy to read your story!!! Opportunities are all around us to be kind. We just have to slow down and open our eyes and Hearts! Most of the time the act is accepted happily...and other times we have to move on and find another soul to help.
It's wonderful that you could dig deep below your stress and reach out like that.
I look forward to many more stories and comments from you.

Smiles are Contagious...Let's start an Epidemic :0) ~Aurelia
heartofflesh wrote: You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; - Khalil Gibran

You been wonderful dear friend

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