Help a Stranger

Sometimes we need help from strangers. Such was the case on Sunday night. About 10 miles east of Byers after just passing the 1000 mile mark for the day, I found myself pulled over on the shoulder of Highway 36 -

In pitch darkness.

In a remote area.

With a shredded right rear tire.

As I unloaded a week’s worth of travel buildup to dig out the spare, a vehicle pulled up behind me. Brooke stopped, opened her door and asked if I needed help — some light, at the least. Like the 30 other vehicles who passed by over the next hour, she had no reason or duty to stop and help me — but, unlike those 30 other vehicles, she did stop and help me. Now, yes, we’re talking about a flat tire — something that most of us have dealt with many times — but when you’ve logged 1000 miles of driving, are operating on 3 hours of sleep and have almost just flown off the road, even mundane tasks seem to be a bit complicated. The task involved doesn’t discredit the gesture. In the end, our efforts weren’t enough to avoid making the dreaded call to AAA and forcing my wife to drive out and pick me up (turns out, the spare had a hole in it too), but nonetheless, I’ll be forever thankful for this gesture of good will from a stranger named Brooke. I also, still now, feel incredibly sorry that no one offered a similar gesture when she found herself in a similar situation in the past. I find myself wishing I could make up for everyone who passed her by in a similar situation. When you see a stranger in need, ask them if you can help. When you find yourself in a situation with no justifiable reason to help someone — help them anyway. It’s easy to lose sight of generosity amidst our cluttered lives. The truth is, most of what’s on our schedule can wait. Stop and help a stranger. Re-establish the American way.