Saturday morning here in Western NY was brutally cold and windy. We had received a large dumping of snow on Thursday and by Saturday most of it had been cleared from roads and parking lots but some area’s still had a good amount of half-frozen slushy stuff.
I bundled up and ventured out just to get a couple of things; dog food, gas and one of the medications I needed. I had only 20 bucks for gas this morning. I pulled into line with only one car in front of me at the pump. It appeared empty with no one around but I thought I’d wait a minute to see if the person would return. I sat there looking at all the people pumping their gas and holding on for dear life with the wind blowing so hard. It took what seemed like forever, but finally the driver’s door of the car in front of me opened, two small feet gingerly swung out to the ground and an elderly man stepped out. The wind was blowing so fiercely his coat almost blew off of his body as he stood upright. He had old sneakers on and the ice and snow under his feet made him walk with a shuffle as he held on to his car and his coat. Realizing I was holding my breath as he finally got to the rear of his car, I got out of my car, I couldn’t watch another second. That frigid high wind hit me with such impact I gasped. I walked up to this poor old man and asked if I could pump his gas for him. He said “oh, would you please”? I told him I’d be happy to and asked him to get back in his car. He shuffled back around his car and I was torn whether to help him or start filling his tank. The attendant walked by and said “you don’t have to do that”. “I know” I said. I stood there in that cold and wind and wondered what this old man and his wife were doing out in such conditions. I had only ventured out to get three things. It really bothered me to witness this fragile old man fighting the elements just for gas. As I was standing there pumping his gas the lady next to me blessed me for my kindness saying “not one person offered but you”. There were a lot of people there, it’s a busy place any time of year or conditions. When his tank was full I grabbed his receipt and gave it to him. He thanked me and off they went.
I pulled my car up to the pump, put $20 worth of gas in my tank, paid the attendant and left. It took me a while to digest what had just happened and to stop wondering about that couple. Thinking to myself how a simple act of kindness – less than 5 mins of my time – is more personally fulfilling than the act itself. For a few short minutes I forgot how miserable and stressful my life is at this moment. I realized how much easier it is to smile, hold a door, offer to do something so crazy simple like pump someones gas for them!
I wonder if we just don’t pay attention to our surroundings. Are we that caught up with ourselves that we can’t see what’s right in front of us? Maybe because it did happen right in front of me I couldn’t ignore it. I know for a fact that I had visions of that poor man taking a face first dive to the icy pavement and people just passed him by. Including the attendant and the lady on the other side of my pump who blessed me for helping a little old man just trying to take care of himself and his wife.
It’s amazing how one simple little act of human kindness offered to another makes you feel so good about yourself. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. That makes it all the better. So, I guess the only other thing I want to say is “Pass it On” please.