266. In Which Karma Reminds Me of my Mission in Life

If I had to give you the meta-narrative for my blog, I imagine it would be making the most out of life.  Sure, I don’t always live life to the fullest, and I do let fear rule me more often than I’d like.  But at the end of the day, my goal is life is to be a good person and make the most of my time on earth.  This is probably the driving force behind my undying optimism.  This also leads me to assume the best of people until they prove me otherwise…and sometimes even thing I continue to assume the best of them anyway.  Yesterday I was proven wrong…and right.

Yesterday my friend Colleen was in the city for a meeting.  She was going to be finished about the same time I got off work and offered me a ride home from the train.  Sweet!  While I certainly don’t mind my twice daily bus rides (and this week has been even more peaceful with the Chicao Public School students on spring break), I rarely say no to a ride home.  When we got to her car we discovered her battery was dead.

We spent the next 20 minutes trying to get someone to stop to give us a jump.  We had the cables, and we mostly had the know-how.  And we had Google just in case we didn’t have the know-how.  All we needed was another car. 

Colleen tried waving people down.  Lots of people were walking home.  Most people drove by ignoring her.  Some people waved back (seriously people?!)  A few people stopped and the following conversation happened

Colleen: Can you give us a jump?
Stranger: I don’t have cable.
Colleen: We’ve got them.
Stranger: Oh, sorry, I’m in a hurry. *Speeds off*

I called the boy – he was still at work and at least 30 minutes away.  I called my dad – he was leaving work and would come on his way home, but with traffic, that could have been 30 mintues.  At the rate we were going, it was out best option.

Finally, an incredibly nice middle-aged woman stopped to help us.  Unfortunately Colleen’s jumper cables were too short to reach between the two batteries, and we couldn’t get her car into neutral to push it out of the parking space.  The lady stuck around for about 5 minutes trying to help us because we all determined this wasn’t going to work.  This woman was so kind and apologetic that she couldn’t be of more help.     

Ten more discouraging minutes later a woman, about our age, saw Colleen standing in the middle of the parking lot and asked if she needed help.  This woman agreed to give us a jump!  She brought her car over.  Colleen’s cables were still too short, but this woman had a longer set we could use.  We got everything hooked up and gave it a go.  And gave it a go.  And gave it a go.  We realized we had the cables attached to the wrong spot on Colleen’s car, but we couldn’t figure out where they should go.

After a short while a man stopped to help us.  He helped us get everything connected properly and a few minutes later Colleen’s car was up and running again! 

We made it home.  Part of me wanted to wish future care trouble on all those people who refused to help us.  The hope that they would one day be stranded with a dead battery and a slew of people “too busy” to stop and help, but I realized that was a waste of time.  Instead I decided to be thankful for the people who did stop to help and return the karmic favor when I’m given the chance.

So here’s the moral of my story: Have faith in people; they will come through for you in the end.  Take a minute to help a stranger.  Make the world a better place if only for one person for one moment.  Look on the bright side of things.  Don’t wish ill on others.  Put good things out into the world; they will be returned to you.

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