Random acts of kindness are performed every day. For example, I believe there are many people out there who have let someone cut in line at a gas station or grocery store. I have also seen strangers approach soldiers in airports, expressing their gratitude for their service to our country.
However, if you were to rely only on the television or evening news, you would see little evidence that true kindness exists. Their stories seem to report just the opposite. We are constantly reminded and numbed by the frequent genocide, ethnic hatred and individual violence committed daily in the world.
I am happy to say that I am one of the fortunate souls who experience human kindness on a daily basis. As a quadriplegic traveling over 300,000 miles per year, I depend on the generosity of others to help me. Relying on the kindness of strangers and friends continues to be a strength and rich source of comfort.
Last week, I was scheduled to be in Nevada for three full days conducting several safety seminars at a mine, as well as visiting and speaking with the kids at the local schools. I decided to take my bus for many reasons: it’s much more comfortable for me to travel; I have a driver, which allows me to rest, and the mining company was in a remote area, so staying on the bus would be much more convenient.
All was set – we were leaving around 10:00 pm – the driver would drive all night and I would be able to sleep, thus being better prepared for the next three days. A few hours into the 8 hour drive, our bus broke down. Long story short, the turbo had blown and the bus would have to be towed to the nearest town, which was Wendover, Nevada.
That was the least of my problems at that moment. My biggest and most pressing problem was how to get to Round Mountain in time for my meetings. It is now midnight and I am scheduled to speak in 8 hours. I made some calls and within three hours, I was driving my car to my destination.
What could have very well been a business nightmare for me turned into a valued lesson of what the kindness of others truly means. Several people were needed in order to make this happen: A Highway Patrolman came and stayed with us for nearly three hours, as well as mechanics from the nearest town to assess the damage.
My wife drove to the airport to meet our driver’s wife and give her a spare key to my van. My driver’s wife then drove to where we had broken down. They stayed with the bus to make sure it got towed properly the next morning, and so I was able to get to my destination with an hour to spare.
The kindness didn’t stop there; as I stated earlier, I was going to a remote area – one small hotel – which was full. One of the key men at the mine invited me to stay at his home. I was able to rest and spend some time with his family, who not only welcomed me into their home, but into their hearts as well.
And still the kindness did not stop. In our rush to get to the mine that evening, my laptop was left on the bus. I called a friend in Elko and she had her son drive to Wendover, retrieve my laptop and it was waiting for me when I arrived in Elko.
I believe there is nothing equal to human caring. We can be incredibly generous, imaginative and open-hearted. We can do the impossible and extend compassion to those in distress. I can’t imagine where I would be without the kindness from all those Good Samaritans.
Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.