Today, not more than 2 blocks from my house, I was waiting to turn left at a red light and the person in front of me wasn’t going. So I honked. Then I felt bad since I realized the person in front of them wasn’t going so it wasn’t their fault. I felt worse when I realized this person was a single solitary man driving a 15 passenger van that had apparently run out of gas at or just before said red light.
Having at this point already awkwardly pulled into the intersection where the light is red and he’s pushing the van, I’m trying to yell out the window to see if he needs help pushing or wants me to bump him with my car (I’m all for that, but most people don’t want another car nudging their vehicle around) or something, but I’m not about to stop in the intersection to help push since that would be sheer stupidity.
I trail behind him as he gets to the edge of the gas station and I ask if he needs to call someone (not knowing what was wrong with his van at this point) and he tells me he ran out of gas. I offer to help push, as he is still a single person pushing a large van, now up a slight hill into the gas station, do a terrible job parking my car by some underage smoking skateboarders, and run over in my interview clothes to help push the van. Another gentleman also helps push it over to the pump and we head to our respective vehicles.
As I am walking back to my car I hear a car honking behind me, and turn around to see a white car whose driver is waving me over. A gentleman and his wife are in the car and when I come over to the car, he says, “We just wanted to let you know that you inspire us. We saw what you did running over there to help him push the van.” They clearly don’t know that I honked at him for not getting out of the intersection earlier. I tell them, “Honestly were it not for many people doing the same for me countless times, my car probably wouldn’t be running today.” The lady laughs and says she understands. Her husband asks my name and he introduces them as “The Everetts” and tells me that he knows a lot about me just from that act and that I should tell my family that they are proud of the person I am. I thanked them and went back to my car, around the block, and home.
It seemed almost profoundly silly for them to say that to me, and for it to make such a difference in my day, except that they said to me what I often wish I were within shouting distance to say to other people when I see them helping someone else push a car – that they are making a small, but massive difference in someone’s day and they are showing their character. Not being able to push a car by yourself and having to do so can easily make the difference between an annoying situation, and a day-ruining stressful messy situation without transportation.
To all those many, possibly hundreds of people that have helped me push, push-start, and troubleshoot my car, and all those people that do it for random strangers wherever you are – you restore my faith in humanity.