On a two-lane country road, this young man was driving home one evening. Work was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac in this small midwestern town, but he never gave up looking. He’d been unemployed since the plant closed, and now that winter was approaching, the chill had finally set in.
It had been a long and lonely journey. Unless they were departing, not many people had a reason to be on it. The majority of his pals had already left. He stayed on despite the fact that they had families to feed and goals to realize. After all, this is where his mother and father were laid to rest. He was born in this country and was well-versed in it. He could walk along this road blind and tell you what was on either side, which was useful because his headlights were out.
It was getting darker, and light snow flurries were falling. He’d better get to work. He narrowly missed seeing the elderly lady stuck on the side of the road. Even in the pale light of day, he could see she was in need of assistance. So he stepped out of his car and parked in front of her Mercedes. When he reached her, his Pontiac was still sputtering.
She was worried, even though he had a smile on his face. For the previous hour or so, no one had stopped to assist. Was he going to do something bad to her? He didn’t appear to be in any danger. He appeared to be destitute and hungry. Standing outside in the cold, he could tell she was scared. He was well aware of her feelings. It was the kind of shiver that only terror can give you. “I’m here to assist you, Ma’am,” he said. Why don’t you just wait in the car, where it’s nice and toasty? My name is Bryan, by the way.”
Well, she only had a flat tire, but that was awful enough for an elderly lady. Bryan slid under the car, skinning his knuckles a few times as he looked for a place to put the jack. He was soon able to replace the tire. However, he had to get his hands dirty, and his hands hurt. She rolled down the window and started talking to him as he was tightening the lug nuts. She explained that she was visiting from St. Louis and that she was simply passing through.
She couldn’t express her gratitude enough for his assistance. Bryan simply smiled as he slid her trunk shut. She inquired about the amount she owed him. She would have been happy with any amount. She’d already pictured the horrors that may have ensued if he hadn’t stopped.
Bryan never gave money a second thought. To him, this was not a job. This was assisting someone in need, and God knows how many people have aided him in the past. He’d lived his entire life in that manner, and it had never occurred to him to act otherwise. He informed her that if she truly wanted to repay him, she could help someone who needed it the next time she saw someone in need, then Bryan added, “…and think of me.” He sat and waited for her to start her car before driving away.
He felt fine as he drove home, disappearing into the twilight, despite the fact that it had been a cold and dreary day.
The lady came across a modest bistro a few kilometers down the road. She stopped in for a bite to eat and to warm herself before making the final leg of her journey home. It appeared to be a run-down eatery. There were two vintage gas pumps outside. She was completely unfamiliar with the situation. The cash register was like an out-of-work actor’s phone: it didn’t ring very often.
Her waitress approached her and handed her a clean towel with which she wiped her damp hair. She had a wonderful smile on her face that even being on her feet all day couldn’t take away.
The lady was aware that the waitress was approximately eight months pregnant, but she maintained her cheerful demeanor despite the strain and aches. The elderly lady was perplexed as to how someone with so little could be so generous to a stranger.
The lady slipped out the door when her dinner was over and the waitress went to fetch change for a hundred dollar bill. By the time the waitress returned, she had left. She was puzzled as to where the lady might be until she discovered something scribbled on the napkin beneath which were four $100 dollars. When she read what the lady had written, her eyes welled up with tears.
“You don’t owe me anything; I’ve been there as well,” it said. Someone previously assisted me in the same way that I am assisting you. If you truly want to repay me, follow these instructions: “Do not allow this chain of love come to a stop with you.”
Although there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, the waitress persevered. She was thinking about the money and what the lady had written that night when she got home from work and went into bed. How could the lady have understood how much it was required by her and her husband? It was going to be difficult, especially since the baby was coming next month.
She realized how scared her husband was, so she gave him a delicate kiss and spoke softly, “Everything’s going to be all right – I love you, Bryan,” while he slept next to her.