I was the last one to leave the house this morning, taking my time to call for my kitty that has been missing the past few days. I’m trying not to worry. It’s more than likely a neighbor is offering him their couch and a bowl full of food in exchange for a little bit of petting time. Lucci is an incredibly lovable cat, and I have no doubt he would cheat on me for a belly rub. But I miss him terribly and want him home.
He never did come when I called him, so I eventually had to leave. I started to take a different route to work, but felt compelled to go the same route I always go. Before I even hit the freeway I came across a car blocking the roadway with their emergency lights on. I made room for the cars trying to get around it, slowing as I passed to see if everything was ok. In the front seat was an elderly man just sitting behind the wheel. In the back was a man rocking back and forth from his mental handicap.
Normally I would keep driving. I admit it. Almost everyone has cell phones and access to some kind of help. And I don’t know how much help I could offer. So I just keep going. But something was screaming inside of me that this man needed MY help.
I had seen them driving around earlier in the week, the familiar rocking in the back seat giving them away. I remember thinking just how patient the older man must be with that kind of distracting scene going on while he was driving. I think I noticed them earlier this week for a reason because, today, there was no way I could keep on driving.
I made a U-turn the first chance I got, passing them by before I could make another U-Turn and pull up behind them and put my emergency lights on.
“Is everything ok?” I asked him when I reached his window.
“No, thank goodness you stopped! My car broke down and I don’t have my cell phone. I need to call the tow company.”
“How long have you been here?” I asked him.
15 minutes, and not one person stopped. What if I had kept on driving? Even as I pulled out my phone to call the tow company, cars whizzed by us, barely slowing.
The tow company didn’t have a driver, so we were still stuck. I ended up calling the police station to get some assistance and they promised help was on its way. I learned that the man in the back seat was autistic, as the older man told me when I said hello. His son wouldn’t even look at me, but he had stopped rocking.
I left a message with the man’s wife to tell her what was going on, and as I did a young man in his early 20s pulled up behind us. At this point we had been there another 20 minutes. He helped me to push the car around the corner so we weren’t blocking traffic, and then both of us sprinted back to our cars to get them out of the roadway. I pulled up near the man, promising him I would stay close until everything was resolved. His car was still just on the side of a busy road, no longer blocking traffic but still in a precarious position. So I told him I would help him to push it further into the gravel parking lot just down the road. Just as I was wondering how I would have the strength to do it, I heard a voice behind me.
“Do you guys need help?”
I turned around and there was my pastor from church! He recognized me instantly and gave me a huge hug. Then we helped the man push his car into the lot. Before I left, the man’s wife was finally able to reach him. Their daughter was on her way to help him out and drive the man’s son to school, where they were going in the first place. And an officer pulled up next to the man.
I left with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and a thought: What if I could do something like this more often?
I hold no judgment for those that drove by. I’ve passed by many in their time of need.
The old man and his dog I see every day looking for a few dollars. The hungry and homeless near my workplace who could use a bite to eat. The friend who needs assistance in moving. The mother next door with a colicky baby who could surely use a few hours peace and quiet.
I tell myself that someone will stop or that my help is unnecessary. But what if they don’t? What if it’s MY help they are waiting for?
Besides, this warm fuzzy feeling is incredibly addicting. While that is my worthy reward for helping someone who was in need, I do hope that a little bit of karma comes my way in the form of my kitty coming home. Just to help it along, I’ve already created the missing posters to place around my neighborhood…