I was having one of those Very-Bad-No-Good-Days. One of the worst I’d had in a long while. When along came a total stranger and he turned my day and my attitude around. I’m not just saying that. There is science that shows good deeds and volunteer work reduces stress. I hope the story of a good deed brightens your day will do that for you. It may even inspire you to pay-it-forward.
The Day Started Cold
In August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was still going strong here in the USA. Because of my husband’s precarious health, we had kept a strict self-quarantine. Those precautions meant we’d both been healthier than we’d been in years. Then came the bad day.
It was chilly outside but still August so I didn’t want to turn on the heat. So we layered up. As all the ladies know, 99% of women’s clothing does not have adequate pockets. Certainly not pockets that would hold even an old iPhone.
I put on one of my husband’s soft, well-worn flannel shirts. Comfy and warm! And it had a chest pocket deep enough for my phone. I wore it all day.
The Trouble Starts
Our well-trained dogs followed their routine and began pestering me for their evening meal. I bent to retrieve their bowls in order to fill them. One bowl up, no problem. Second bowl—my iPhone went kerplunk into the large and full-to-the-brim water dish.I shrieked and snatched it out of the water as quickly as I could.
I dried it off and let it air dry the inner parts. Then I tried to make a call. I could call out, but the person on the other end of the phone line couldn’t hear me. At all. That person saw my caller ID and called me back.
But I couldn’t pick up their call.
Only One Solution
I tried a couple of other internet tips to dry my phone out. To no avail. I fought panic. Until the pandemic, my husband’s health issues caused him to fall frequently. Rarely could I help him back up by myself. If my son wasn’t available, I had to call 911. That happened about once every two months, even during the pandemic.
I quickly decided there was only one solution. I’d buy a new phone at the store down the street from us. Lo-and-behold, they did not have a single iPhone in stock. The telephone company we used didn’t have any. Nor did any nearby stores. I finally located one iPhone for sale at a store thirty minutes away. I placed an online order for it.
The Next Problem
Then I faced another conundrum. My husband was wheelchair bound. His physical weakness made transferring him into a regular vehicle difficult and dangerous for both of us. We planned to get a wheelchair van, but hadn’t found one yet. And though I rarely left my husband’s side for more than 15 minutes, we decided that his good health and our need for a working telephone out weighed my sense of caution.
So I studied the map (remember, no cell phone) and copied the directions. With both the written directions and a map in the car with me, I took off to an unfamiliar-to-me part of the city.
And Things Got Worse
I was nearly at the store when I felt the car lurch. Then the flub-flub-flub of a fat tire filled my ears. I was on a busy, uphill stretch of a four-lane divided highway with a curb and no shoulder space. There was nowhere to pull over. I couldn’t call for help. And I had no idea where a gas station was. So, I turned on my hazard lights, moved to the right-hand lane, and slowed waaaay down. Hoping that at the top of the hill, I’d find a station or some place to pull over.
About half-way up the hill, my tire started sounding like parts of it were flapping in the wind. Crap! I slowed even further.
At the top of the hill was a Quick Trip, a convenience store and gas station. It offers no service for vehicles.
Asking for Help
Hoping I could add air to the tire, I pulled in to their lot and parked at the air pump. I should have known. My wheel sat on shreds of the tire. No way it would hold air. No way I was driving anywhere else. And I couldn’t loosen the lug nuts on my own. I’d have to find a phone, call a tow truck, and have them change the tire for me.
Inside the QT, I asked for a telephone and a telephone book. All I got from the teenaged clerk was a blank stare. I explained my cell phone wasn’t working, needed to call a tow truck, and repeated my request. Again with the blank look. I asked to speak to the manager. (No, I did not have AAA.)
A Little Help Better than None?
The manager was a pleasant woman who offered me her cell phone. Thank you, I said, but I don’t know where the closest tow truck or service station is or a phone number to call. She graciously looked up a number on her phone, dialed it, and handed the phone to me. I explained my situation to the person who answered the telephone. The tow service person told me it would be an hour or more before they could “get to me.” I didn’t want to wait an hour fearing my husband would fall and no one would know. I asked the manager if there was another tow service I could call. When she heard how long a wait I’d have, she offered to help me.
As we walked out to my car, she explained she had a bad back and wouldn’t be able to help a lot. Great.
A Good Deed Brightens My Day
There was a sedan parked next to my car. We reached my car and the man in the sedan got out of his car and asked if I needed help.
The young, red-headed gentleman was in shorts and sandals. He changed my tire quickly and efficiently. Refused my offer to pay him something, or buy something from Quick Trip. He gave me directions to where I needed to go and drove off without even telling me his name.
He acted out of the kindness of his heart. And while he wanted no reward, he earned a ton of points toward many blessings that day.
I got to the store, and after a few issues, finally got my new iPhone and could drive home safely. To my immense relief, my husband hadn’t fallen during my extended absence.
The Moral of This Story
I will remember that young man for the rest of my life. His good heart, his good deed, not only brightened my day but meant I got home sooner. He knew nothing about me, yet lightened my worries. And though I thanked him profusely, I will always feel like I owe him.
He not only helped me in my time of need, he restored my belief in the goodness of people.
I tell this story often because a good deed brightens your day. It reminds me that doing a good deed and being kind brightens yours and at least one other person’s day. And retelling the story brightens even more people’s day. So think about that the next time you’re out and see someone in need. A moment of kindness will last forever. Won’t you brighten the day for all of us? Share your stories of a good deed in the comments.