My encounter with a Good Samaritan


Jason A. Smith

Columnist


Sometimes, the simplest act of kindness can go a long way toward making a person’s day better.

I was fortunate to be a recipient of such kindness recently, and it’s been on my mind ever since.

It all started a couple weeks ago, when I picked up my little girl from preschool. Like any other day, we walked hand-in-hand out of the school and got into my pickup truck, while I listened to her telling me about her day.

Then, it happened.

The truck wouldn’t start.

I had been noticing in recent weeks that it was getting more difficult for the engine to turn over, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to get it checked out. As of that moment, of course, I didn’t have a choice.

Car repair has never been my thing. That was my dad, not me. So, I called my wife and informed her of the situation while I continued my futile efforts to start the truck.

A couple seconds later, someone – a total stranger to me – was standing at the front of the truck with jumper cables in his hand, motioning for me to pop the hood. I had no idea who this Good Samaritan was, but in that moment, I didn’t really care. In that moment, this Good Samaritan was my best friend.

I popped the hood and got out to talk to the man, with his vehicle parked next to mine. He was at the school to pick up his own child. He hooked the cables onto the battery and, seconds later, I was able to start the engine. After thanking him profusely, I finally drove home.

As that stranger lingered on my mind off and on for the next few days, conflicting emotions swirled within me. On one hand, I was grateful for his willingness to stop what he was doing and help me. On the other, though, I began to get just a little sad, because such acts of kindness seem so rare these days. We hear on the news about people committing crimes against each other, but we don’t hear nearly as much about Good Samaritans helping others out of the kindness of their hearts.

I thought, “Are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we can’t see when someone else has a need we can fill?”

I mentioned this to a dear friend of mine, just to see if I was the only one who ever felt this way. She told me about how she has worked to teach her kids, when someone does something nice for them, to do the same for someone else.

She also said something else that has really stuck with me – that Good Samaritans are probably all around us more than we think. She reminded me that Good Samaritans usually aren’t the kind to toot their own horns, and that when they perform acts of kindness for others, the only way we hear about it is if their beneficiaries spread the word.

In the days since that conversation with my friend – after getting a new battery for the truck -- I’ve had a lot on my mind. I began to wonder whether I’m the one who’s been too wrapped up in my own life to notice when someone has a need. As a result, I’ve made a couple of decisions.

For one thing, whenever someone does an unexpected act of kindness for me, I’m going to tell as many people as I can. It might be just what someone needs to get through a difficult day.

For another, I want to look for more opportunities to help those around me – not so they’ll tell people what a nice person I am, but because it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that God’s in control of it all. He knew, when my truck wouldn’t start the other day, that He would be using that episode and that Good Samaritan to teach me something about how I treat those around me.

I’m so glad that He did. I pray that when the time comes for me to put this lesson into action, I’ll respond in a way that glorifies Him.


Jason has worked in newspapers since 2005, spending the majority of that time in Henry County. He lives in Covington with his wife and daughter.