Today I witnessed a car accident. It was a small one and everyone was okay so I’m glad about that. What happened in the moments after was amazing as I saw a plethora of emotions emerge. I witnessed fear, confusion and worry from the lady whose only concern was to make sure the man in the other car was okay. The man on the other hand leaped out of his seat swearing profusely at the lady in anger until another gentleman and myself walked over to ensure the situation didn’t escalate. I offered my information to the lady as a witness to the accident. She was still in shock and mixed in emotions and was about to burst out crying from the emotions until I showed my concerned and spoke some words to comfort her and calm her down. I directed her on what to do from here on out and she was extremely thankful and even more pleased when she found out I wrote down the other drivers license plate in case he fled.
Now, the story above wasn’t the reason I wrote this post. What I wanted to tell you about was how I changed this lady with 3 minutes of my time and a few words. It’s amazing how an act so minuscule had such a colossal effect. She called later tonight simply to thank me for the help today. She said, “I have never experienced anything like this from a stranger before in my life.” She was probably in her 40’s which brings me to the next point. I’m glad I was able to do even the most minimal thing to pay it forward but I was also disappointed that not one stranger had done anything for this lady to make her feel this elated in so many years. It got me thinking. How come she hadn’t experienced this before? Are strangers not that nice? Are we afraid to pay it forward to people we don’t know? Is it just that we’re shy?
I’ve maybe experienced one or two random acts of kindness in my 28 years but nothing as lasting especially last year on my Asia trip when a family offered to house me, after 30 minutes of meeting them, if I couldn’t find a place to stay on an island in Cambodia. The same family did end up housing me a week later when we were on the mainland. It created such a lasting impression on me that I still tell everyone about it today and I stay in touch with that family but other than that experience I can’t really recall anything else. NothingIn 28 years! That lady hadn’t experienced anything like that over 40 years! If such random acts of kindness create such happiness how come they aren’t more prevalent?
I hope we can all identify times when we can pay it forward. A tiny inconvenience for us can flip around someone’s day or even life upside down and it can create a ripple affect.