The Kindness Of A Stranger

06.02.12 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[16]

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Last fall I wrote a blog about the story behind the song, “It’s A Wonderful World”.

http://www.fln.org/media-blog/what-a-wonderful-world/ 

Not long after the piece was published I received a note from a reader who shared an interesting story that goes back forty years.  A friend of hers was a truck driver who lived near Watkins Glen.  He frequently made day trips into Pennsylvania, delivering goods to small towns and businesses.  One day as he was driving south on U.S. Rt. 15 in central Pennsylvania he came upon a Cadillac on the side of the road.  He slowed down and saw that the left rear tire was flat.  A middle-aged woman was standing next to the car.  The truck driver, whose name was Gordon pulled off the road, got out of the cab and walked back to survey the situation.  It was obvious the tire would need to be changed and he asked if she had a spare.

The woman, who was nicely dressed and well spoken, said yes, in the trunk, and accepted his offer to change the tire.  He took the heavy spare and jack out of the trunk (remember they were real tires back in those days) and exchanged small talk with the woman as he worked.  When he was finished and had put the flat tire and jack away and closed the trunk, the woman offered him $20 to thank him for his kindness.  He declined.  She tried again, a bit more forcefully, but he said no, he was just glad that he came along when he did and was able to help her.

The woman, undeterred, insisted that he at least write down his name and address.  He did and they parted ways.  The entire exchange lasted less than 20 minutes.

Three weeks later there was a knock at Gordon’s front door.  When he opened it he saw a delivery man standing on his doorstep with a large cardboard carton on a dolly.  He told Gordon he had a delivery for him.  Gordon said he wasn’t expecting anything but the driver showed him the shipping invoice and the box was unmistakably addressed to him.  They brought the carton into his living room.  After the delivery man left Gordon looked the box over.  The only return address was for the delivery company.  

He carefully opened the carton and inside found a brand new Magnavox color console TV.  Taped to the top was an envelope with a small card inside.  It read, “Dear Mr. [omitted], thank you for taking time to offer your assistance with my tire situation.  I kept telling my husband that if I was ever driving alone somewhere and had a flat I’d be in a world of trouble but he said people are kind and someone would be there to help.  And you were.  Thank you.”

It was signed, ‘Mrs. Lucille (Louis) Armstrong’.

Comments

Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 06.04.12 Wendy commented

What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it.

on 06.05.12 Shoshana commented

I had a similar experience just this morning. A friend and I went to visit a woman we go to church with. We wanted to bring her a spiritual message and some fellowshipping. We had never been to her home before and while following GPS, we ended up with my friend's car in a ditch on a back country dirt road. We called the woman we were going to visit and she said she would come help. She was unable to get whom she wanted, but another man who lives up the road from her said he would help. He pulled my friend's car from the ditch without a second thought of time or where he had to be. He was our Angel. :)

on 06.06.12 Katie commented

It's nice knowing that people still care even though this happened years ago. When you go out of your way to help someone you never know who you may be helping. If people would be more unselfish the world would be a better place.

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

Thank you for sharing! We should always be willing to help everyone (not just a friend) in need!! You never know when the kindness will come your way!!

on 06.07.12 djdeb commented

So sorry dont know why my post multiplied like that!!

on 06.12.12 nancy commented

my son and i had a wonderful experience. my son is now 42 and this took place about 13 yrs ago. my husband & I and our son lived in VA at that time. our son's class reunion was coming up and john's wife was not able to come to PA with him for it, so he and I came up. we stayed for the weekend & visited family & he went to the reunion and we went back home to VA on monday. while driving back, there were two 20-ish girls parked on the side of a busy highway w/a flat tire. my son pulled over and said, 'mom, you have to get out of the truck and come back with me.' I knew he would not hurt these girls but they didn't know him (he had very long hair, a beard and tattoos). i never would have thought to do that but he did. we all had a wonderful talk while john fixed their flat tire and we all went on our way. i am so proud of my son in so many ways.

on 08.14.13 Anonymous commented

How much tires weigh wasn't the girls afraid to look at him being he was bigger than them an wet from a
Rain fall sweet

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