Help comes in all kinds of forms...and so many people need help in one way or another.
Here are a few of the stories and ways that we try to help. Each is as important to us as the next.
Last Thursday night my wife, Robyn, and I were shopping downtown at the annual Christmas on the Bricks in our town of Kearney. Downtown on the Bricks has a lot of cool smaller stores.
It was a nice evening and the temperature was in the low 50's so a ton of families with little ones were out and about listening to carolers and petting llamas, and sheep, and getting hay rides, and seeing Santa and drinking hot chocolate provided by so many of the stores.
We were just getting done and at the last store when my wife bumped into a young lady that she sees every month when the gal and her Dad come in to pay their natural gas bill.
The young gal was about 1.5 miles from her new apartment she had just moved in to.
My wife announced we were giving her a ride home as she introduced me.
Not surprising...we do that a lot for a lot of folks as we do not have a real solid public transit system due to the in-between size of our town.
As we pulled up in front of this gals new apartment, she said Thank You so much and that she had a brace on each foot from ankle injuries and was dreading walking home.
She said she did not have a lot of furniture yet but was excited to try and live on her own. She does not yet have a job she said due to her learning disability but does receive assistance.
Her Dad now lives about 6 blocks away and it is the first time she has ever lived anywhere besides home.
Of course for the rest of the evening my wife worried about the gal and if she was okay and in the right apartment since we did not see a light come on when she went inside.
Friday evening rolled around and Robyn got home from work and said the young gal and her Dad stopped in to the gas company to pay their bill and the gal asked:
"Where you the lady that gave me a ride home last night?" My wife said "Well yes it was and I am so glad we could help you." The Dad was relieved because she couldn't remember my wife's name.
Now my wife wants to see what furniture the young gal needs and wants to help her get her apartment all filled.
Giving her a ride was a small gesture of help...we do them a lot...some are bigger than others and some are best left unmentioned as we are not looking to be rewarded...the Thank you is reward enough and even if there is not a thank you...just knowing we helped is okay with us.
So many times we are asked to donate to this large charity or that large cause and almost all of those are worthy. And many times we do.
But we prefer to do it differently.
Some of the help we have shared may be as simple as an extra bag of groceries to the Food Pantry or other agencies that serve food or provide shelter or protection.
Or swinging a hammer at a Habitat home...or mowing someones lawn...or changing a tire or pulling someone out of the ditch...even helping someone out the door with their groceries or cart.
I was at the grocery store on Saturday and had a 10% coupon for an order over $100 the store had mailed to some customers. My order was for about $80. The couple in front of me had over $200 of groceries. I have no idea who they were or if they were rich or poor nor do I care.
I asked the checker if she could use the coupon and she said yes. The gal looked at me and I simply said "Merry Christmas". She hugged me and I thought she was going to cry. Her husband even asked her what she was doing. (He did not say thanks.. ha).
This past spring a young girls softball ball team was washing vehicles...I asked them how long they had been playing and they said they were a new team and some of the players did not have equipment and that was why they were doing the fundraiser.
As they tried to wash my huge Suburban...I walked over to the parent in charge and asked them if they were getting new gloves and bats for some of the players. She said yes, so I handed her $100 and said hopefully you raise enough to get nice gloves that will last the girls for years. Through her shocked look, she asked for my name to send a special thank you...I said that is not necessary...what is important is to keep the kids doing what they are doing and learning about teamwork.
When the girls were done "washing" I asked them how much and the little girls said it is a donation...so I gave the 4 girls who "worked" on my truck each $5.00 and asked if that was enough. They said thanks and went running to the parent...I waved as I drove off as the parent was trying to flag me down and went directly to the car wash. (seriously...but they tried so hard...it was just too big for them to wash).
My wife, and I, and a very successful client of mine went to an auto auction this summer and he mentioned this one lady was selling her truck to help pay bills for her family...that the husband had cancer. The bidding was almost over and I thought the bids were way too low in my opinion...I looked at my client and said...let's buy it. He said what would we do with it...I said give it back to her. So we did.
Through the tears, the auctioneer asked her if she wanted to resell it again and she looked at us...and I looked at the auctioneer as he asked if we cared...and I said "it is her truck...if she wants to resell it, that is her decision." He looked at her and she reluctantly shook her head yes. He then turned to the last bidder out and asked him if his bid was still good and he said yes. We doubled her money...but a thousand people saw what happened and it was not our intent to have the auctioneer acknowledge us...as we would have preferred to stay anonymous.
Our old neighbor kept falling from his back porch in his garage because there was not any handrails just a platform with steps. I went over and built him a handrail and a railing so he could hold on to either side on the two steps. And then fixed some of the things on his honey do list he could no longer do. But the thing I was most proud of with the old neighbor is sharing my garden with him and his wife after he could not have one anymore. He loved cherry tomatoes. She preferred slicers. I miss them every day.
Each of these stories...and so many more not shared...all...for the most part..have the same meaning to my wife and I. Small gestures that helped someone when they needed it.
My wife and I have been so fortunate and so blessed for so many years and even though it may be only a ride...to that person...if it is important to them...then we are glad we could help. Thank you's are optional.
Until Next Time...Keep an Open Mind!!
(side note: I started writing this because of a November AR contest and intentionally did not post it when the contest was going on as I did not want to receive "extra" credit for sharing my thoughts on this one.)