I was driving home after leaving Greenville, listening to whatever random song my iPod was playing. I had just gotten into the Chapel Hill city limits when I notice the jeep about 60 yards ahead has turned its hazard lights on and is pulling off to the side.
With memories of my Nana teaching me to always help someone in need at the forefront of my mind, I pull off a bit behind them. The driver is a rather harried-looking woman in her early 30's. As she opens the door, I hear the sounds of a screaming baby.
I announce myself before asking if she needs help, I didn't want to scare the poor woman. She looks at me and I could see her eyes widen a bit and she starts looking around for something. The more cynical part of me thinks it was something to defend herself with from the potential mugger coming at her.
I ask her what's the problem and in heavily accented English, she tells me her tire has a flat and she was scared to drive on it with her son and daughter in the car. Around the word "drive" she slipped completely into Spanish. I tell her to hold on, in Spanish. It was like the fact I spoke the same language she did had a calming effect and she no longer visibly seemed intimidated by me. I go back to my car, pop the trunk, and come back with my spare tire.
We made small talk while I took off her old tire, there had been a tack in it, and replaced it. I found out she had been looking for a sign pointing towards UNC hospital as her sister was having a baby.
Once it's finished, I tell her to follow me and we'll take a way so as to avoid all the traffic. When we arrive at the main building 10 minutes later, she gets out and one hand is holding a cell phone to her ear while her other hand is holding that of a little boy, no older than 2, who is sucking his thumb. Holding his sleeve is a little girl of the same age clutching a Dora the Explorer doll. The woman ends her phone call and tells me that her sister would like to thank me.
Now I'm usually a pretty outgoing person but I do have moments of shyness. Especially if it's someone thanking me for something, worse if it's someone I do not actually know. Plus, I thought it would be awkward for me to meet a woman who had given birth in the wee hours of the morning and was now in recovery.
So it is with great trepidation that I follow her up to the recovery room. We get there and I let them go in ahead of me. Not even a minute had passed by when the woman poked her head out and told me her sister was asking about me.
I walked into her room and I see a woman who could not have been three years older than me lying in a bed. She seemed far too small to have just had a baby. She motions me over and takes my hand in both of hers. She thanks me for making sure her sister got here safely and quickly.
I tried to tell her that anyone would have done it.
She then gave me a disquieting piercing look and told me that not many would stop to help a stranger anymore. And many who would have ulterior motives for doing so. She then reached to her wrist and took off one of the rosary beads there.
I want you to have this. I want you to look at it and remember what you did today. Kindness to strangers isn't dead and you stand here as prove of that. The Good Samaritan. God Bless You.
I spent another 30 minutes with them. I found out their names and where they were from. I gave them mine. The younger sister even asked that I go to their church next Sunday.
Take something from this folks. It doesn't cost much if anything to do something for others. And often, it has its own rewards.