by Nancy Hebb
Manchester, Michigan, USA
For years, I was employed by a “living history” farm, part of a large outdoor historical museum. Several days each week, I and a few trusty Border Collies would move sheep through the “village” and relate information about sheep, working dogs, wool, and agricultural life in 19th century America. My menagerie and I lived just a few minutes from the museum.
My heart’s true home, however, was a “real” farm an hour away. The days we weren’t at the living history farm were spent there, where hundreds of sheep, dairy cows, and 500 acres of crops gave both the dogs and myself plenty of truly rewarding work, often in very “fragrant” conditions. Each evening, I’d put off the inevitable drive back to the city as long as possible.
My aging pick-up truck was appropriate for hauling manure-covered farm dogs. An insulated cap on the back kept them warm or cool as weather demanded, and also prevented them from spreading their eau de farm to the upholstery. But the truck died one evening at a busy intersection about ten miles from home.
With six dogs in the back, and the end hanging out in traffic, I turned on the blinkers, ran across to a gas station and arranged for a tow truck. As I returned, I noticed a classy full-size sedan pulled behind the truck with its lights also flashing. Two elderly women asked if they could push me into a parking lot just up the road, and I gratefully accepted. I told them how scared I’d been that someone would clip the rear of the truck, since I had dogs in there.
Instantly they wanted to drive all seven of us home. I explained that the dogs had been working on a farm and were filthy and smelled terrible. A tow truck was coming, I assured them. They were horrified at the idea of the dogs riding in the truck as it was towed, and insisted on saving us! So I canceled the tow truck and climbed into the back of the obviously well-cared-for luxury car with my farm boots on. Twenty-four not-clean paws and a lot of dirty fur surrounded me.
The ladies insisted they were already headed in my direction and assured me that they loved dogs and not to worry a bit about the dirt! They refused to tell me their names when I asked, and refused any payment. When we pulled into my driveway, I tried to read their license plate number, thinking I could find a way to thank them if I had a name!
It was dark, and they pulled away before I could decipher the numbers. It was clear, however, that the plates were for a handicapped driver.
Why would two elderly women risk their own safety to stop for a broken-down, beat-up pickup? The driver’s parting words remind me every day that taking a risk for someone else can pay you back: “Just do the same for someone else someday,” she requested.
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 2.
- “20080302-sheep-far” by dobroide via freesound.org
- “Flock of sheep being moved” by benboncan via freesound.org
- “Turn signal” by morgantj via freesound.org
- “Come here” by benboncan via freesound.org
- “Truck starts and stops” by freqman via freesound.org
- “A dog barking close recording” by felix-blume via freesound.org