15 Miles Each Way

by Linda Johnson
Connecticut, USA

15 Miles Each Way

What a terrible week. Nothing was going right that day in May, 2005. I live in Bristol, Connecticut, and had to run some errands in Southington, the next town over. The trip is about 15 miles each way. Atmy first stop, I put my keys down on the seat, reached for my handbag and coupons, got out of my truck, and closed the door. The keys were still on the seat.

While I tried to regain my temper, I saw the passenger window was down a little. But getting in would not be easy. I checked 10 stores in the plaza and none had metal coat hangers, only plastic. Finally, I went to a big discount store and asked a woman who was stocking the shelves where to find metal coat hangers.

As I followed her, I mentioned locking the keys in my truck and having no way to get my spare keys from home. If I wouldn’t mind waiting five minutes, she said, she’d give me a ride home to get them. When I told her I lived in Bristol, she said she was going that way to another store anyhow.

In her car, I told her how stupid I felt. She said it was no problem. We passed the store she mentioned, but she continued to my place. On the way back, we passed the store again; she said she could go there later. We also drove by the cute and nice trailer park where she lived. She kept going until we were back at my truck.

She refused to accept any money from me, and waited until my truck started before she drove off. I sat there a while. This lovely lady who didn’t know me at all went far out of her way for me. She probably didn’t plan to go to that other store, but made an excuse to help. I wondered if I would have done the same for a stranger.

About a month later, I was in line at the grocery store. An older woman at the head of the line realized she didn’t have enough money in her wallet, and looked worried. I squeezed past the other waiting customers, asked how much she needed, and made up the difference. It wasn’t much. The woman offered her phone number so I could collect the money later, but I declined.

When she began to cry, I explained that I was just passing on a good deed a total stranger had done for me. She said she would do the same. I felt so good after that. Thanks to one lady who took her time to help me, I remembered to help someone else when I could.

One lady showed me that there are truly good people around — people who care and will help a stranger, not expecting anything in return. I drive by her trailer all the time on my way to and from Southington. And every single time, I smile.

Originally published as HeroicStories #655 on Mar 10, 2006

2 thoughts on “15 Miles Each Way”

  1. thank you. i have not stopped paying it forward. that stranger changed me forever and whenever i see someone in need i help them and tell them to pay it forward.


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