We often think that only grand acts make a difference in the world, but the truth is that a single simple gesture can change someone’s entire day.
Yesterday, our son and I made a quick trip to the store to replenish the home front after a week of traveling. As we exited the freeway, we passed a car that appeared disabled, and a woman was waving her arm out the driver’s window. Cars continued to whiz past, all of them ignoring her distress signal. Well, nothing on our list couldn’t wait. But to get to the woman, we had to get back on the freeway in the opposite direction, take the next exit, and then return to the freeway once again in our original direction. As we drove the two miles in the opposite direction, we now noticed a state patrol who was sitting in the median. He was less than a mile from the distressed driver, yet couldn’t see her. We alerted him, and he followed us to the disabled vehicle.
It turns out that the woman had run out of gas just a mile from the gas station. She and her young son, who was strapped in his car seat in the back, were stranded on a hot September day in a disabled vehicle on the side of the freeway. Out of gas. With no cell phone. We were the only people who stopped.
While aiding a stranger requires a bit of common sense, it didn’t take much effort on our part. Did we perform a grand act destined to improve the world? No. But on one hot September day, our small act of kindness made a world of difference for one mother. And that lifts my heart like nothing else.