Pay it Forward

Michael would cringe if he found out I was writing about this, but I think it pertains to travel and how to be a good human being.* If Michael passes someone in need on the road, he makes it a point of stopping and helping out. Last year in Indio, we came across an elderly man that had fallen off of his bicycle and it appeared that he was drunk and crawling to the side of the road. As it turned out, he was a migrant worker that had all of his life belongings chained to his handlebars and the load was so heavy, he had lost his balance, fallen down, and couldn’t muster up the strength to pick the bike back up. He was exhausted and confused, very frightened and didn’t speak English. This happened over a year ago before Trump became president! Can you imagine what the fear level would be now? When we realized that what we were looking at was a man, it came as quite a shock. Michael quickly parked the car and dashed over to help guide him to the side of the road and then went back to retrieve his bike. He could have so easily been run over by a car. He actually looked like a dog at first that had been injured. It was pitch black out and all you could see was something struggling in the middle of the road. Well, I then jumped out to restrain him and tell him everything would be OK in my broken Spanish because he wanted to go back to his bicycle and was clearly very agitated. You could feel the heat coming off of his thin body from all the exertion and he was sweating profusely.  He had not been drinking and was only trying to get home after a full day of working out in the fields. The winds had been very strong earlier in the day and he appeared to be at least 70 years of age. He was probably younger but the long hard years of working under the sun had leathered and darkened his skin. Fortunately another Good Samaritan who spoke Spanish was able to put his bike in the back of his pickup and take him home. Even he exclaimed how heavy the load on the bicycle was and joked that the pack was filled with rocks. This story had a happy ending but I must confess that I am not always game for helping out! Michael will always insist though…

As I mentioned in my blog called: Fanfare for the Common Man, it is the salt of the earth people that give me heart and help me to believe that there is good in the world. I don’t understand this immigration hysteria and can only hope that our country comes to its senses and returns to a place which America was founded on. We need to change the rules for becoming a citizen and encourage the labor force that work so hard for all of us to have food on the table, to find a path to citizenship. How many of us could work all day in a field picking fruits and vegetables under a hot sun, and manage to do this and last until lunch break? How about make it to a lunch break? I know that I wouldn’t be able to and I am actually quite strong for a woman. My father always had me mowing the lawn and doing the grunt work because of my strength while growing up in a large family of 7 girls. I work with horses and animals and I swear one of my horses named Champagnne Flight, thought I could pick him up and carry him if he ever ran into any trouble… fortunately I was never tested on whether I could or not, but I do not think I could last as a field worker for even one whole day!

So to get to the point of the paying it forward. We lucked out in Arizona when we ran over a bolt and had a flat tire. It could have been a horrible situation if we had broken down in the middle of the Mohave Desert. Fortunately we made it to a tire shop and were able to have a new tire put on. Well, last night while driving back from Riverside, California after having a long, stressful day and a meeting with our tax consultant, we passed a vehicle in Ranchita, California with hazard lights flashing. We drove past the vehicle with Michael telling me that he was going to stop and assist the person, while I am saying “NO” I am too tired and want to go home. A few seconds later, we see the man walking down the road trying to get phone service, and Michael screeches to a stop and asks him if he needs any help. The man says he is fine and just walking back to his car which had a flat tire, but that he needed to get in touch with his wife to let her know of the break down.  Of course Michael says to get in the car, so I jump in the back seat feeling a little sorry for myself and we drive back to where his car is parked on the side of the road. Michael then helps him change out the tire and put on a spare while I get in the front seat to put on the hazard flashers and pull the car closer for better lightning. By now I am happy to help out and I am so proud of Michael because the guy is clearly appreciative and we made the breakdown tolerable. It didn’t take that much time and a good deed was accomplished that helped someone in need. Ranchita is a rural community and there were no lights out and the full moon was just starting to rise over the hills from Borrego Springs below. It would not have been easy for this guy to change out the flat, in the dark, and out in the middle of the countryside. I am humbled by the experience and will never again tell Michael I don’t want to be bothered with helping someone that is in trouble. Random acts of kindness are what is needed in this country, and all around the world for that matter. So to all of you reading this blog post, pay it forward if you come across someone that is in need. The term actually refers to buying something for someone in line that is behind you, but I think it can also mean an act of goodwill. It could be you that needs help next time. It feels good to help make someone else’s life just a tad bit easier, and wouldn’t the world be a better place for it? I am not trying to preach, I just know I am still feeling the after glow for having participated in Michael’s Good Samaritan act last night, whether I had wanted to or not!

*  I let Michael know about this latest blog and he says that most people help others out. I disagree! 

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