Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Have a Little Faith... In Humanity

This morning on my way to work, my car decided it wasn't going to go into gear. I was stuck on a hill, almost blocking an intersection and about to panic. It was dark and rainy, and I had no idea what I was going to do. Within a couple minutes, a really nice car pulls over and a good looking guy in a sharp suit gets out and asks if there is anything he can do to help. We chatted as I explained the problem, and there was nothing really to be done by him, but he suggested I get my car down the hill to park it and he would drive me back up to my house (he offered to drive me to work, but didn't have time to go an hour plus out of his way to take me that far).
So I am a dumbass sometimes, and missed the parking lot that he suggested, ending up instead in the middle of a car dealership parking lot. Oh shit. So I get out of my car, push it into an open spot and walk back up to my house because I lost the guy... Luckily for me, one of my best friends who happens to be a mechanic had stayed the night at my house, was still there, and was able to help me figure out what I needed to do to get it working and get me on my way to work.

But the guy getting out of the car reminded me that there are good people out there willing to help a stranger, and it made me think of my horizon-expanding hitchhiking trip a few weeks ago...

It was a Sunday, and I woke up with an itch for some adventure. I have a friend in Pullman (about 500 km away), and I didn't have to be at work until Wednesday. So, I had a cup of coffee, threw some clothes in a bag and hit the road with my roommate. The people we met on that trip were such genuinely kind and generous people! The first person offered to drive us all the way to Pullman and back if we paid for gas, although we didn't end up taking that offer. Then we met a guy, Kyle, who drove us probably 400 km, and the drive absolutely flew by as we had amazing discussions about literature, music, and philosophy. 
When we arrived in Kyle's town, we had planned to take the bus into a larger city nearby to find a ride from there to our destination, but missed the last bus. Walking down the street, we ran into a guy who asked where we were heading. It was 30 km (in one direction) out of his way, but he gladly drove us, despite being busy and in a big truck that I'm sure took a lot of gas. 
He dropped us off on the side of the highway; we were only 80 km from our destination in less than ten hours! But it was getting late, after 9 PM, the temperature was well below freezing, and the road was so iced over we could barely walk on it. Still, within a half hour, an older gentleman stopped and picked us up, saying that he couldn't leave us out there because he didn't think anyone else would stop due to the road conditions. He ended up giving us dinner, and after a lovely evening playing music together we stayed in his home that night, and he drove us the rest of the way in the morning (again, about 30 km in one direction out of his way). 

That trip completely restored my faith in humanity. There were so many kind strangers doing so much for us! Every time we would get a little concerned about what to do next, or how we would get through the next steps, someone came along and offered to help us. It showed me that there are so many people willing to help if you ask, and reminded me to always keep paying it forward. Always be kind and help people when you can, because at some time someone helped you, or someone will help you.
Putting myself in a position where I needed help and then receiving it from so many people was a genuinely joyous experience. The kindness that was shown to me completely warmed my heart and filled me with gratitude so deep that this mindset will carry through in my life for a very long time. I can't wait to help more people when I can, and to put myself in the position of needing help, because I know it will lead to some amazing experiences. 
Pay it forward, peace out, and adventure on!

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