I was half a country away when I got a call that my mother was septic and possibly dying in rural Kentucky. I was broke, but I was granted emergency funds on my credit card, and I flew to the closest airport: a one-runway airport in Huntington, West Virginia. There, I found that the emergency funds were not enough to cover the rental car I had reserved. I was stranded at 10:30 p.m. in the middle of nowhere, with only a backpack and an urgent need to be with my mother, who was a couple of hours away in the ICU.
I was distraught because I didn’t have a clue how I was going to get from the airport to the hospital. That was when a gentleman came up to me and said, “If you will trust me, I can give you a ride to where you need to go. It’s out of my way and I’ll have to call my wife, but I can help you out if you like.”
I still do not know what possessed me to accept his offer, but I did. He called his wife and let her know what was going on, and we were on our way. When he stopped to get some gas, he bought me a bottled soda. I don’t think that I have ever met such kindness in my life from a complete stranger. He took me to the hospital and waited while I went to check on my mom. Then he took me to my hotel, waited while I dropped off my backpack, and took me back to the hospital.
When we got back to the hospital, I offered to give him some gas money. I felt like it was the least that I could do. It was after midnight, and here he was, still helping me. He REFUSED! This gentleman had not only given me a safe ride to my mother’s side, bought me something to drink, made sure I got to my accommodations, and made it back to the hospital—but he did it out of the kindness of his heart, even at significant inconvenience to him. This happened in 2001, two months before 9/11. I don’t remember his name, but I think about him from time to time and I hope that he is doing well. It just goes to prove that there is still kindness and generosity left in this world.