The Good Deed
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
I noticed her frantically walking around the parking lot looking for someone to help her. She approached me and asked in Spanish “Puedes ayudarme por favor?”. (Can you help me please?). My Spanish is mediocre at best, OK, hablo espanol un poquito to not at all! But it was easy to deduce she needed help. She pointed to her vehicle, which was a full-size SUV with a flat tire. She needed help to change the tire, help meaning I had to do it!
I hadn’t changed a tire in years and followed my first instinct and asked in the little Spanish I know, “Tienes AAA”? I was fully prepared to stay and wait with her until a professional tire changer could come. The look on her face told me the answer, even if she understood my question, she didn’t seem to know AAA handled these type of situations. She also seemed to look at me as if to say, “You mean you don’t know how to change a tire?”
At this point I knew I had to get down to the business of changing the tire. My first dilemma was trying to figure out where the jack and lug wrench were (I was surprised I remembered I needed a lug wrench haha). After I found them, my next issue was to find out where the spare tire was hidden, and more importantly, how to get the little midget tire out of the bowels of the car! It seems car designers like to play hide and seek when deciding where to put these items.
After going through the mental calisthenics of finding the jack, lug wrench, and figuring out how to get the spare tire out. I suddenly remembered all cars have an owners-manual, which while seldom used, is always located in the glove compartment. Luckily it was there, and the rest was easy. I changed the tire and almost looked like I knew what I was doing. When I was done, the grateful lady offered me lunch and $20 for my efforts. But there was no way I would accept anything more than a heartfelt “Gracias”.
I can’t describe how good it felt to do a good deed for someone in need. (Yes, I was proud I remembered how to change a tire also). It made me think how opportunities to do good deeds are presented to us routinely. They are right in front of us, but we are often too self-absorbed or too busy inside our own lives to notice them. I’m not suggesting that we spend all our time trying to be “good deed doers”, but I am suggesting that we try and be more cognizant of the opportunities to help someone when they present themselves. It may not be a lady frantically walking around a parking lot looking for help or volunteering for disaster relief. It can be as simple as exercising common courtesy. Holding a door open for someone coming in behind you, turning in items you find to lost and found, giving a homeless person a couple of bucks, pushing a rouge shopping cart into the cart rack in the grocery store parking lot, or simply smiling on that rare occasion when you make eye contact with a stranger.
Of course, volunteering your time, energy, and resources to help during a natural disaster is a good deed that has a huge tangible impact. But common courtesy is also a powerful good deed. The intangible impact of the smile you receive from the smile you give is your heartfelt “Gracias”!
FOOTNOTE--While I am sure I changed the tire correctly; I did urge the lady to get to a tire shop immediately. Afterall, I hadn’t changed a tire in years!