From Stranger to Neighbor

by Russ Mulcahy
Florida, USA

From Stranger to Neighbor

In late fall, 2002, I worked for a few weeks renovating our whole house inside. One weekend in October I was working on getting the bathroom ready for the tile to be installed. As I put up the perma-board, I realized I was a sheet short and would need to purchase another one.

My wife and son and I got into our truck and headed for the store. When we entered and arrived at the building department, I explained to a sales person that I needed one sheet of perma-board cut to size. I told him that when I had taken the original three pieces home I was also purchasing eight two by fours. Because perma-board is very stiff, I had used the two by fours to support the perma-board so it wouldn’t crack into pieces hanging out of my truck on the way home.

The sales person simply said that they didn’t cut this board. My wife and I asked to talk to the manager as we had no other way to get this board home but to use our truck. While we waited, my 5-year-old son needed to use the rest room. I left my wife with the measurements for the cuts, and went off to find the rest room. When I returned, my wife said that the manager had replied that he would not cut the board either.

However, while my wife was waiting for my son and I, she had struck up a conversation with a couple on line waiting to pay for their purchase. The husband offered to cut the board for me if I brought it to his house. I explained that I could cut the board at home — the problem was I could not fit the board in my truck without a good portion of it hanging out. With the board partly out of the truck, it would crack up from bouncing on the way home and be of no use.

The husband told me he would do the neighborly thing and put the board in his truck which was larger than mine and would carry it safely.

So I helped him load everything into his truck. Then he followed me to my house and helped me carry the board into my garage. I offered him $10.00 for his trouble a few times, but each time he declined it, saying this was his good deed for the week.

In dealing with people who don’t care, which seems to be much too frequently these days, we forget that there still are kind people willing to go out of their way to help a stranger. I am grateful to this man who was so willing to help us — for no other reason than to do the neighborly thing.

Originally published as HeroicStories #386 on Feb

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