Giving a Hand Up


A couple weeks ago my wife, Cathy, was looking through the local Facebook community page and she saw a post from a wife asking for a ride to work for her husband. Their car was vandalized and they could not afford for him to lose his job. Cathy showed me the post.

We’re retired, financially comfortable, and have a car that gets nearly 50 mpg. The only real concern here is that this might be some kind of scam to rob or assault some kindhearted person. “What the hell,” I said, “go ahead and contact them.”

Long story short, I gave the guy a ride to the local factory for 2 weeks. He’s supporting a wife and two kids, lives in a meager house, and just needed a temporary break until he could fix his car.

That’s the kind of charity work I’m willing to do. I walk past the bell ringer at the grocery store, never give money to people holding cardboard signs, but if I can help a real person directly who is obviously trying to make a go of things without compromising my own situation then I will do it.

My rider and I couldn’t have been more different in age and politics, but we both mean well. I think that counts for something. He needed a temporary hand and I had some spare time. It made me feel good about myself and I suppose there’s a favor I can call up if I ever need it. I doubt that will ever happen.

He did offer to give me some money for gas but I kindly refused. Just take care of your family, my friend.

6 thoughts on “Giving a Hand Up

  1. Mock my words. No good deed goes unpunished. One day this will come back to haunt you. You may have inspired this person to do a good deed, pass it on so to speak, and so on, and so on, and there you have it, the next thing you know the world is a better place.

    • Over the two weeks I gave him a ride we talked about things like Karma and paying things forward. He gets that.

      I will NOT “mock” your words but I will “mark” them, which is what I think you meant.

      • No, “mock” was intentionally used. You must not remember the reference to something you used to say as a teenager. Trish’s cat will work harder on her tone–her contempt for humanity did not come across with the sarcasm intended.

  2. Jim, It’s people like you and Cathy that really do get the concept of Paying it forward. I know you write about this to not toot your own horn but to nudge us all to think like you in these matters. I’ve read other things you’ve done and the way you share your lessons for free and I am glad to call you ‘friend’ 🙂

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