What World Kindness Day means to me.
Kindness is so much more than just a kind word.
Kindness has been shown to me at my most vulnerable times. There is a time in particular that I will recall for this story. I was a young mother, fleeing a bad marriage and driving cross country to get as far away as possible from a situation that I was sure would end in my death and my children motherless.
The first act of random kindness came from a man in Laramie, Wyoming. Yes, Laramie, Wyoming, the least populous state in the US. My children and I were traveling on Route 80 and unfortunately, I didn’t know that you should drive in a different gear while maneuvering the high mountains. I pulled into a gas station to fill up and found out that my transmission was stripped on my car. Scared, not knowing anyone and having my children in the car along with our possessions that I could fit in was all I could think about. I go into the gas station and ask for assistance with my car. A man comes out and after tinkering with the car says “I think your transmission is shot.” All I could think was “Oh God, what do I do now”. What I knew I couldn’t do was let my children see my unsure and scared. So I ask if they could do the repair there. The answer was no but they would check around however, it would take some time. A grandmotherly looking woman asked where I was headed and I said to California. She said it would be best if I would wait at the local hotel while the situation with my car was figured out. She called on a man named Slim to take me to the hotel. Slim comes to get me and my children as I take a suitcase out of the car and I get into his pickup truck thinking I am going to a hotel. I should have known better because the town was quite small at that time and I was already exhausted.
Slim takes us to the local motel which reminded me of some of the one story motels at the Jersey shore. He looked at me and said don’t worry, he would check on me, to lock the door and gave me the number to reach him at the gas station.
I waited a couple of hours and called for Slim. He said that he was coming to get us because the closest place that could fix the car would be in Salt Lake City, Utah. He had already called a tow truck that was going that way and he would flat-bed my car. But when the tow truck driver got there, he had an OLD car on the flatbed and he jacked up my car. Slim asked him if he would put my car on the flatbed and he said no, it would be jacked up and I could ride in the jacked up car if I wanted to get to SLC. Slim just looked at me and put up a finger that meant “wait just a sec.” He went into the gas station and came out with sandwiches and soda. He told me to keep my children safe and that in a few hours we would be in Salt Lake City. He said he would pray for me and that I could call him once I arrived.
That was a random act of kindness and I have never forgotten Slim.
I looked at the old car on the flatbed and the fact that we were riding in our car, jacked up in the back of the tow truck and that anything could have happened to us. But what was most memorable is the way the sky turned the mountains gold, yellow and orange as we traveled in the jacked up car. It was like God was saying “as long as you can see the glory I bring in this natural painting, you will be at peace and ok.” We had food, liquid and each other. We ooh and ahhhed at the beauty of the landscape. We sang songs. We counted cars and trucks on that often desolate road. I remembered the kindness of a man named Slim whose card I gripped as though my life depended on it.And when my children fell asleep, I silently wept and prayed.
I prayed because it took a random act of kindness. It took courage. It took humanity. It took someone that I didn’t know at all named SLIM to give hope to a young mom and soon to be divorced woman who was in the middle of no where. But because of Slim and the grace of God, I’m still here.
A couple of years later the town that saved me was in the news for the murder of a young man named Matthew Shepard. Unfortunately Matthew didn’t have a Slim with him that evening. Matthew didn’t have kindness on his side. I once again thanked God for his grace and for Slim.
See, the stories of our lives make us the people we are today. It’s why I look at people and things the way that I do which is perplexing to some but until you walk in a person’s shoes…..well, you know the rest.
This is just part of why I say “Today I Will… Live Life GRAND” because every day we are on this side is a GRAND day!
The next act of kindness I won’t forget is after I got to Salt Lake City. But that’s for another story and another time.
Happy World Kindness Day!
Every day….Live Life GRAND!