Updated: Jan 30, 2021
A friend of mine shared a story with me this morning. Last weekend he decided to close up shop and take a few days to go fishing alone up in the mountains in the southern Sierras. Up on a curvy mountain road he missed a turn and took a hard hit on an embankment. The air bags deployed and he found himself a bit stunned in a dirt, road side pull out. After getting out the car and making an assessment he saw that there were some people who had come over to check on him. Realizing that he was in real trouble he got hit with a wave of emotion but tried to tuck it all back in because he noticed a young girl looking at him. She was welling up with tears. Her father, who was checking out the damage to the car also noticed and asked her why she was crying. She pointed at my friend and said she was crying because "the man is sad". The father quickly said to my friend "It's ok. I'll help you".
In the morning, after an unexpected campout, the man loaded up his camp and his kids and my friend and they drove down the mountain. Once they got to cell service it was determined that there was no help from a tow truck available there. The man said, no worries, and kept driving toward Bakersfield where they could rent a trailer to hitch to the truck and go back up the mountain to get the car. Unable to find a trailer available in Bakersfield, the man said "no worries... I can get one at my house down in Van Nuys". So they pressed on for hours, dropped off the kids, hitched up the trailer and made their way back up the freeway and up into the mountains, loaded up the car and drove all the way back to Van Nuys. After getting my friend checked into a motel near his home the man left and said he'd be back in the morning to take my friend and his car to the shop where his buddies would get it fixed. And that's just what happened. Maybe six or more hours of driving a complete stranger to get help... encouraging and assuring him along the way. No worries.
It would have been a huge favor just to have taken my friend down the mountain to get cell service, wave and drive off. But this stranger went beyond. He went the distance... the whole distance until the "help" was completed. It's mind boggling actually. At one point during the hours of driving, my friend asked "Why are you doing this?" The man answered so simply that it was because his daughter was upset to see "the sad man". Without a flinch this guy put aside all his plans, his weekend trip in the mountains and did what it took to finish the job.
It was whole hearted.
Hearing this story really impacted me. This man, he didn't have a lot of financial resources, but he had what he needed to help... a big truck, some mechanic friends, and clearly some kids who he is raising to be epic human beings. This man was in it with his whole heart. I pray that this man will be blessed beyond measure for his heart to help a stranger. I just know that that kind of whole hearted sacrifice of service will not return void.
Sometimes... probably most of the time we will never see the "reward" for our good deeds. We will also never see how big or far reaching the ripple effect of our words or actions are. The way this whole hearted servant / leader gave of himself and his time, for sure is shaping the next generation as his children watch him and learn. Hearing the story definitely is a reminder to me of how we should serve others, friends and strangers... not with a meager portion from our abundance but with everything we've got. I know that as my friend continues to process the extent of what this guy did for him and even more, what he shared from his own life story, it leaves him with a strengthened resolve to also go the distance for others, whole heartedly.
We can be the change we want to see.