Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Helping others and paying it forward, you never know

It's 6pm on a Saturday, I have made a 3 hour trip to Atlanta to pick up some wheels for my BMW. I get everything and head off to return home to Birmingham. All of a sudden the oil light comes on, the battery light comes on, my power steering dies, and I instantly realize my main accessory belt has snapped. I pull over and inspect the damage. Sure enough, my water pump had failed, the bearing blew out shredding my belt and leaving me stranded 3 hours from home. What a helpless feeling!

Ever been in that position? Maybe not automotively speaking, but what about your life in general. What about others lives around you? I got to thinking today, that amidst all the chaos in this world people all around us are hurting and in desperate situations. Have you ever helped someone in a way that it cost you something? Money, sweat, time, pain, tears, maybe all of these? If you haven't, perhaps you haven't ever truly helped someone. Because real help costs something, if it doesn't, then it means very little. My ultimate example, Jesus, knew this well. He even said "what is greater, to say thy sins be forgiven thee or rise up and walk". Lip service is easy, a prayer for someone is easy, saying you'll keep someone in your thoughts is easy, but moving a friend into a new house, taking a homeless man to lunch (yes, into the restaurant), sitting in a hospital room for hours to hold the hand of a dying person, these are the things that define true help. I read a story once that I want to share with you. It is about a man in just such a situation.

"A nurse escorted a tired, anxious young man to the bed side of an elderly man. "Your son is here," she whispered to the patient. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. He was heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack and he dimly saw the young man standing outside the oxygen tent.
He reached out his hand and the young man tightly wrapped his fingers around it, squeezing a message of encouragement. The nurse brought a chair next to the bedside. All through the night the young man sat holding the old mans hand, and offering gentle words of hope. The dying man said nothing as he held tightly to his son.
As dawn approached, the patient died. The young man placed on the bed the lifeless hand he had been holding, and then he went to notify the nurse.
While the nurse did what was necessary, the young man waited. When she had finished her task, the nurse began to say words of sympathy to the young man.
But he interrupted her. "Who was that man?" He asked.
The startled nurse replied, "I thought he was your father."
"No, he was not my father," he answered. "I never saw him before in my life."
"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?" asked the nurse.
He replied, "I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, I knew how much he needed me..." (source for this article is found here)

Can you imagine doing that? I can't. But I am not even talking about going to that extreme. Even stopping to change a tire for someone on the side of the road, carrying groceries to an old lady's car, or taking parts off of your car so a guy can just get home.

See the second half of the story I started at the beginning of this blog is that the guy who I bought the wheels from came to where I was, towed me to his house (thank goodness for tow hooks) with his BMW, let me use his tools, drove me to the parts store, and even gave me his waterpump pulley because I broke mine. Great story, but it doesn't end there, it gets even more incredible. That all happened in September of last year. Last month I get a PM from a guy on Bimmerfest that a person from Chatanooga, TN with an E46 is stuck in Birmingham and needs a good shop. I emailed them and offered to help. Turns out it was actually the forum members daughter who was in town for a wedding. She had the EXACT same failure as I had had in Georgia. The parts stores were closed and she needed to get home. I took my waterpump and pulley off of my car and gave them to her to get home! Talk about paying it forward! You can't tell me that God didn't engineer that set of circumstances!

So why am I telling you all this? So that you can be impressed with me? No. So you will think I am great? No. I don't want you to think about me at all! I am telling you this so you will think about those around you that need YOU! When you give, you get. And I am not talking about money. There is so much more you'll get than money it isn't even funny (hey, that rhymed). I charge you to pay it forward. Do more than you have to, do it often, and do it TODAY! You may never know when you will need someone yourself!


  1. Very good post. Inspiring for sure. I got lucky last week when my belts busted... I was about 3 minutes from home instead of 3 hours. I was relieved myself to open the hood and see a mangled belt as I just knew it would be worse... Thank goodness it wasn't!

  2. Great post...I just found your blog and couldn't agree more with your points here. Karma is real (even if you don't agree with the source of the karma).