Acts of Kindness

I recently had the opportunity to experience true, unfiltered selflessness.

In this chaotic world of ours, I find solace in the fact that there are people who are so generous without expecting anything in return. Despite hearing about kind acts in media, I believe that we do not fully understand selflessness until we experience it for ourselves.

Not to say that I experienced a truly objective act of selflessness or that it was my first time seeing compassion. I just think that we often take these things for granted (I definitely do) and times like these are the moments we should cherish.

​The Defiant Vehicle

​Okay, was that enough suspense? Let's discuss the story leading up to my little (or large) revelation.

The problems started on a weekday morning when I tried to start my car to drive to work. Pretty normal, right?

Expect it wasn't. My car would not start.

After waiting for what seemed like eternity, my insurance's emergency roadside service personnel showed up to help jump start my vehicle. We discovered that there was corrosion on my car battery's terminals. After clearing it, we successfully jump started my vehicle.

I was told to pour hot water over the terminals to clear the battery acid that had formed as soon as possible and I did just that when I arrived at work. I wished that was the end of the problems but I suppose that would not make a very interesting story, right? 🙂

Over the next couple of days, my vehicle would not start several more times and I had to call for roadside service a few more times. I am sure that I became a thorn in their side but thankfully a different person helped out each time.

​One evening, as I was about to drive home from work, my dreams of paradise were crushed by my vehicle malfunctioning again. This time, I had enough so I walked over to Costco (thankfully only a couple minutes away) and bought a jump start kit so that I can do it myself.

​After reading my manual to ensure that I would not be electrocuted, I was able to jump start my car after two attempts. More importantly, I was alive! I began my journey home towards my luxurious and glorious bed.

​Everything was going fine and I was just singing in the car until I stopped at a red light. Suddenly, my vehicle gave out again, leaving me stranded on the streets during rush hour.

The Pedestrians

I was less worried than I expected that I would be now that I reflect back on it. I just remember thinking something along the lines of:

"Oh dang, I am blocking everyone... I suppose I will just have to turn on my emergency lights, call roadside services again, and wait here".

That thought was about to become reality but a man came out of nowhere and signaled with his hands that he was going to push my car. I was caught by surprise because I was not expecting any help but this man did something that I do not know if I would have done myself.

Together, we began pushing my vehicle towards the parking lot of a near by strip mall.​ Thankfully, I was already on the right-most lane and the entrance to the parking lot was not too far away.

Along the way, another man and another woman jumped behind my vehicle to help push it as I handled steering. After this short adventure, the three pedestrians dispersed after an expression of gratitude from me.

They disappeared as quickly as they appeared. They were not expecting anything in return.

The ​Tow Truck Driver

​Now that my vehicle was poorly parked in a parking space, I had time to contact my insurance for roadside services again. They stated that it would be about an hour wait. During the wait, I had the opportunity to talk with my girlfriend and my parents so that helped pass time.

Yes, I could have jump started my vehicle again with the kit I bought but I was afraid of the vehicle stopping on the road again, especially on the freeway.​

The tow truck driver came sooner than the ETA given so that was fantastic!

Actually, the service always came quicker than the ETA for all the times I solicited help. I am sure this is not the case but it would be pretty smart (and possibly unethical) to provide a longer ETA to present the company in a positive light.

Anyhow, the driver's task was just to tow my vehicle back to my apartment but this man decided to try to help start my vehicle again and keep it running so that I could drive it back myself. This would be beneficial because I would also be able to drive it to an auto shop the next day.

After some inspection and temporary fixes, the vehicle was up and running again. The tow truck driver offered to drive behind me on the way back. He probably had to anyways because his company could check his truck's mileage after the service.

I am thankful that he followed me because my worst nightmare came true. My vehicle began slowing down while I was on the freeway. As my vehicle's speed approached zero, I made my way to the off-road portion on the right.

Long story short, the tow truck driver towed my vehicle back after my girlfriend drove me back first for safety.

"WAIT, WHERE DID YOUR GIRLFRIEND COME FROM?"

Patient, my young padawan.

The tow truck driver did not need to help fix my vehicle temporary. In fact, that probably wasted more of his time.​

The Girlfriend

​As previously mentioned, I had the opportunity to talk to my girlfriend while I was waiting for the tow truck.

In retrospect, I believe my girlfriend was more worried than me after I told her the situation. I am thankful for such an amazing girlfriend. I am also thankful for my calmness, even though it is a double-edged sword at times.

​She asked me where I was and I gave her a general location because I thought she just wanted to make sure I was in a safe area.

​To my surprise, she showed up while the tow truck driver was working on my vehicle. Apparently, she had gone to the wrong location a couple of times because of my vague description.

​Furthermore, she followed me while I was on the freeway. I thought she had gone back first since everything seemed to be okay before we left the parking lot. That was why she was able to drive me back while the tow truck driver prepared my vehicle for towing.

I did not ask her to come and help out. I probably said something contrary to that because I had the situation under control.​ But there she was, lending a helping hand when she did not even know where I was. Told you I had an awesome girlfriend!

Closing Thoughts

Wow, my intention was to shorten the story but it still turned out much longer than I expected.

If you are still here, I apologize for the terrible story-telling you had to endure!

This experience is another reminder for me that people can be so generous and compassionate. I aspire to be like the pedestrians, the tow truck driver, and ​my girlfriend. These events inspire me to become more altruistic and be less of a bystander.

I hope that I can remember these moments when the time comes for me to take action.

Also, it turns out the issue with my vehicle was that the corrosion caused the battery terminal cables​ to become damaged and loose. Everyone, take care of your battery terminals!

When was the last time you experienced or observed acts of kindness? Do you believe we take these moments for granted at times?

David Tran
 

David is a software developer with experience in web technologies and interest in software and hardware integration. He is a lifelong learner, an avid podcast listener, and an enthusiast of books of all genres.

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