With the seasons changing, I decided to take a vacation day last Friday to get some things done, especially since it was supposed to be a gorgeous day, followed by rain on the weekend. 

I started my day by taking the vehicles for an oil change and tire rotation.  This is something I despise doing because it takes an ungodly amount of time, but is necessary.  I go, I wait and wait and wait.  As I sat fumbling through an old magazine, I noticed a woman on the other side of the waiting room, clearly upset.  It all unfolded when she answered her cell phone and began spilling the whole car repair expense tale to her caller.  She began to cry, saying she had just bought this car a year ago and was assured “everything was fine”.  Yeah.  I wasn’t eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help but overhear the entire conversation, and the cost involved to get the car fixed.  I would have cried too.  Whatever her caller said to her took her from sad to mad in an instant.  She got red in the face, pursed her lips, grabbed a smoke and went outside.  I couldn’t hear her but I could see her smoking hand waving all over the place as she seemed to be yelling into the phone.  I looked around… is my truck ready yet?  No, of course not.  The manager was handed a clipboard from one of the mechanics and goes outside to speak to the woman.  She composes herself while he goes over the detailed costs of the new proposed scaled down version of fixes to fit her wallet.  He retreats back inside as she dismisses him with yet another cigarette in her hand.  She is pissed and about ready to blow.  I go outside, she ignores me and turns away.  She’s sobbing as I approach her.  She just looks at me looking at her.  I hand her the kleenex I grabbed from the waiting room and she starts to vent about the car, the kids, the boyfriend, and the bill.  I just listen and let her rant.  When she finally calms down, and lights yet another cigarette (geez), we start talking about life in general and the perils of being a single parent and car owner.  I could relate.  After about 15 minutes, my truck is ready and we both go inside.  While I wait to pay my bill I overhear the manager tell the woman she could get by with just repairing her brakes today and the rest could be worked out over the next month or so.  She seemed a bit relieved but was still squirming for $69.99 as she pulled out a $20 dollar bill and asked if he would take a check for the rest.  He motioned he’d be right with her and went to cash me out.  I added $50 to my payment and told the manager to put it towards her bill.  I knew she could use it and she was overwhelmed with surprise and delight.  She thanked me a hundred times and I just told her to Pay It Forward.  Help someone who’s helped you… it will come back to you, threefold.

As I got in my truck to leave a car pulled in and she went dashing out of the office towards the car.  She stopped me and handed me $50 dollars from the man driving the car.  I assumed it was her boyfriend coming to pay the bill, but I didn’t ask.  I told her it wasn’t necessary to pay me back but she insisted.  She seemed proud to pay it back.

As I went about my chores for the day, my mind wandered back to the woman I’d met that morning.  I couldn’t help but think of the irony of an incident earlier in the week where I was shot down, ridiculed even for “creating stress” looking for help with a family emergency.  You may not get the help you need from people you think will help you, but creating positive energy for those in need, at the very least, makes you feel good that you’ve done something to help someone along the way.  You just never know when a stranger is going to step in and surprise you with a random act of kindness.  You get what you give. 

Pay It Forward… It’s just good Karma to give back.