The gentleman who shared this story did not give his name, but since these things have happened many times, in different places, with different results, there’s no reason to doubt its authenticity.

He was driving home and almost didn’t see the elderly lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So, he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. He left his old Pontiac running since it was so cold, even if it was sputtering. The friendly smile on his face still left her worried as he approached her. He was the first to stop to help for the last hour or so …. was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked somewhat poor and hungry.

The man could see that she was cold and frightened. He knew how she felt. Her shivering included a chill that only fear can put in you. “I’m here to help you, ma’am, he said, why don’t you wait in your car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an elderly lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he got very dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he snapped on the hubcap, put the jack in the trunk and closed it. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid.

This was not a job for him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who gave him a hand in the past. He lived his whole life helping others, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed. He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was certainly not a fancy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that being on her feet for the whole day could not erase.

The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so kind and caring to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan. After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred-dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred-dollar bill, but the old lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be.

Then she noticed something written on the napkin. Tears filled her eyes as she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I was in your situation earlier today. Somebody helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.”

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills. Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s gonna be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

There is an old idiom that goes, “What goes around comes around.” But there’s an even older proverb that reads: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”[1] However, there’s one even older than that: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”[2] It boils down to agape love. Because the Apostle Paul says that Love is proactive, is observant, is compassionate, is responsive, is free, works when inconvenient, brings healing, may require sacrifice, is selfless, and is promising.[3] It is this kind of love that the Holy Spirit brings to us as a blessing to help others, not hoard our blessings.[4] – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31

[2] Leviticus 19:18

[3] 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

[4] Romans 5:5

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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