Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't Stop!

I'll stop for you.
Today I stopped for a woman whose car was broken, the hood up, at an intersection.  I had to wait for several cars to go around her.  As I pulled behind her, I notice the tops of car seats in her back seat.  As I pulled around her car, I noticed her.  She was my age, standing in the shade, looking worried.

I stopped.  I asked her how I could help her.  It was an easy help, which involved moving her small boys into my car in the shade, and pushing her car out of the intersection.

I guess the surprising thing was how many people drove around her before I got to her.  I know there are times when people do stop for one anther, and also am surprised by how often I am the first to stop.  There was nothing ominous or sketchy about this woman on her way to drop off her boys at vacation Bible school.

I know doomsday is coming where thieves are hoarding the last tins of tuna in their broken down car.   The last ten men on earth lure you to their broken car (counting on the milk of human kindness during an atomic winter), and ultimately process your remains into tins labeling them "tuna".  We have all seen that movie.

I think that people pass by others in need for reasons besides fear, though mostly it is fear.  Another reason might be selfishness, and thinking he has nothing to offer.  As it turns out, the only reasons to pass by a person in need, are bad (except self preservation, I don't stop for the grungy man in a broken conversion van, or if I feel the situation is dangerous in any way).

Here is why I stop, and it is not because I am good.  I am just as fearful, selfish and insecure as anyone else.

I don't want to miss anything.  If you don't stop, you will miss something, something good, something adventurous, something life changing, which isn't to say that it might be hard.  Think of all the times you've stopped, and something unexpected happened.  For me, it is immeasurable, as this blog is a testament to.

Several years ago, I stopped when I saw a boy, maybe 5 years old, in the culvert on the side of a busy road. I am sure I was not the first person to see this small person alone in a dangerous spot.  I parked my car to guard him from traffic, turned on my flashers, and called 911.  I sat with him until the police and his mother came, and there was something different about the boy.  No one stopped, until the police were there.  The boy was very autistic, and wandered out of his house and around the corner several blocks.  His mom was CRAZY with worry and guilt for losing him for 40 minutes.  Either the drivers of the 50 cars that didn't stop before I got to him didn't see him (scary) or didn't think they could help (scary).  I felt like that day I actually helped someone, just like I felt this morning as I pushed a Jeep Wrangler to the side of the road.

If I had passed by, I would have missed it.  I am sure if you are the kind of person to read this, you are the kind of person who will stop.  How many times have I been on an adventure because I took the time to pay attention?  I can't know.

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