On my way home, stomach full of dinner and head full of sleep, I was just passing this pick-up truck which was half parked on the road. I noticed two gentlemen about sixty years old waving me down. I wouldn’t have stopped at a different place but this was right in our well lit neighborhood, which is still busy at around 9:30 pm. After passing them a few meters I looked through the side mirror and saw they were holding some wires. Flat battery, I figured.
For a split second I debated whether to drive on or reverse. If you have ever gotten a flat car battery you know how desperate you can be to get someone who will just be kind enough to stop and help jump start your engine. It takes only a few seconds but most people will just pass you by. I have been there before. I decided to be a good angel and reversed.
Do we have bad angels, by the way? Are bad angels still angels?
The old fellas couldn’t believe I was backing-up to help.
Problem one: their wires were weak and couldn’t pass enough current from my car battery to theirs. Luckily I carry some good charging cables that we connected from their battery to mine. For a minute, it felt so good to be of help to someone.
Problem two: their engine wouldn’t start. So we tried and tried to no avail. The one who seemed like the owner of the vehicle pulled out a dumb phone and called his mechanic.
What is a dumb phone you ask? Well, it’s not a smart phone and it has four functions only: call, text, torch and a game of snake.
Fortunately the mechanic wasn’t far away and arrived on a motorbike after five minutes. He tried to but the engine wouldn’t start. Soon what I had hoped would have been a thirty second stop had turned into a twenty minute trial.
The old men kept saying how kind I was, that I was a real gentleman to have stopped to help and that the world needed more people like me. It felt good to hear all those things said about me, rarely do I get praised for anything other than my ability to hold down my drink.
Then my head started getting heavy, my bed was calling softly, whispering how much it had missed me. It was about 10:00 pm and as the mechanic fiddled with the old men’s car I realized this wasn’t entirely a battery problem and there was no saying how long it would take.
‘It looks like the problem is not the batteries’ I said. This was my way of suggesting maybe I should be on my way.
It was an old model of a Mitsubishi Pajero. The car looked strong but it had seen better days. Twenty minutes had now gone by and inspite of all the continuous praises, I began to regret having stopped to help these old men. I could have driven on when they stopped me, I shouldn’t have reversed, I didn’t have to play the good Samaritan. Certainly someone else would have helped them.
I thanked them for the praises, wished them well and got back into my car. As I drove away, I could still hear them telling the mechanic,’ That is a real gentleman, such a nice young man. God bless him’.
That made me feel guilty. If I had not stopped to try help, who would have? I was that someone else that other drivers thought would stop to help.
So sorry I couldn’t be of more help to them. My consolation is I left them in a totally safe place and with someone who could be of more help, their mechanic.
Have you ever tried helping someone only to realize you bit-off more than you could chew and you felt guilty as you had to move on? Well, we can only help as much as we can, and the fact that we couldn’t help does not mean that we should not try to help again when another opportunity to help arises. We may not be super human but its enough to be human.