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The Kindness of Strangers

Robert-baker-537579-unsplashThe kindness of strangers is something that many people rely upon to get by, but trusting people we don’t know can sometimes be a real risk.  Every so often, if you’re not careful, things can really get out of hand. But sometimes, a stranger can renew your faith in mankind.

On a recent rainy day, an elderly woman became stranded on the side of a rural road with a flat tire. Her cell phone had no reception and she began to worry how she would get back on the road.  Hunched over her steering wheel and looking a little troubled, she caught the attention of a man who was passing by. He instinctively pulled over to see if he could help her. The old woman was naturally concerned about the stranger approaching her. Was he going to hurt her? Why would someone be so ready to come to her aid?  Nevertheless, she decided that, because she couldn’t fix the flat tire herself, she’d better let him take a look.

“I’m here to help you, ma’am ,” the man said reassuringly, and before the old woman knew it, he was retrieving the spare tire from her trunk and switching it out in record time. She couldn’t believe that she’d been so lucky to have him come along! But that’s not where the story ended…..

The old woman thanked the younger man and offered to pay him. He refused. Instead, he told her, “Just think of me the next time you see someone in need. Just remember Bryan Anderson and pay the kindness forward.”

Just like that, the man hopped back into his car and drove off. The old woman was overwhelmed by the man’s kindness and generosity.  She drove her car half a mile up the road to a local diner and decided to get something warm to eat and drink. Upon entering the diner, she was greeted by the smiling face of a waitress, who welcomed her and offered her a towel to dry her rain-soaked hair. The old woman noticed that the waitress was about eight months pregnant. She was obviously exhausted but never lost her pleasant smile.

The old woman ordered a cheeseburger and fries and ate quickly. Then she remembered what the man who helped her said, so she paid her meal with a $100 bill, and when the waitress left to make change, the old lady slipped out of the diner and drove off. When the waitress returned, the old woman was nowhere to be found. Instead, she spotted a note scribbled on the napkin at the table. It said, simply, “I have been where you are and someone very kind once helped me the way I’m helping you. Please just remember to pay the love forward. She then noticed four more hundred dollar bills on the table. 

The waitress’s head was spinning. With the baby coming in a month, it would be tight for a few weeks, and she and her husband could really use the extra money. She gratefully folded the bills and put them in her pocket, and finished her shift.

Hours later, when the waitress finally made it home after her long day, she climbed into bed and told her husband what had happened. Thinking of how lucky they truly were, she leaned over, kissed his forehead and simply said, “I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

Sometimes, what goes around really does come around!

Jeffrey R. Bellomo, Esquire

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