30 Days of Thanks: Strangers’ Kind Acts Still Shine Decades Later
I was fresh out of college and heading to my first job in a community 30 miles away. With a tiny car – and even smaller bank account – I carefully weighed my limited options, finally deciding to rent a cheap trailer and complete the move in one haul.
Had I studied mechanical engineering rather than journalism, I might have realized a four-cylinder engine with 100,000-plus miles was not equipped to pull an overstuffed U-Haul on a hilly state thoroughfare. But the shoulder of Highway 23 was no place to be reevaluating my educational choices.
It was, however, the perfect spot to begin a crash course on the kindness of strangers.
During the next several hours:
- An acquaintance of someone I’d literally just met helped me move some of my more valuable possessions to a secure location. (He didn’t seem the least bit irritated to be helping a naive young punk on a hot summer afternoon.)
- A passing driver, noticing my plight, gave me a lift for a good chunk of my remaining journey.
- A young man from France, traveling across the U.S. on a tandem bike, offered his empty back seat for the remainder of my course. (I still have a hard time believing this wasn’t a dream!)
None of these strangers had to help. In fact, I would have totally understood if they hadn’t. After all, they didn’t know me. There was no money in it for them. And they certainly had lives and plans of their own.
But they did help. Because they had compassion. Because they were able to put someone else’s needs in front of their own.
In a nutshell: Because they were kind.
While these voluntary efforts occurred more than two decades ago, I think of them often.
They’re a testament to the lasting power of a stranger’s kindness – and a reminder that I, too, am a stranger to others in need.
Editor's note: In the pursuit of our dreams, take time to thank the people who have helped you along the way. Take time during November to express your gratitude. For daily reminders during these 30 Days of Thanks, visit American Family Insurance on Facebook.