I firmly resolved to have all of my holiday packages mailed out by December 1st this year, so naturally, this morning, eleven days later, found me at the post office, scrambling wildly to get three very large boxes out of my trunk and balanced on top of each other in such a way that I could carry them while still holding a four year old’s hand tightly in mine as we crossed the icy parking lot.
The he showed up: my hero. He was a middle-aged man, dressed for working in some downtown office building, smiling warmly and surrounded by a faint corona of angelic light as he asked, “Can I give you a hand with those?” The heavenly gleam was joined by the clear sound of an otherworldly hallelujah choir as I eagerly accepted his offer of help. I carried a box under one arm and steered Caleb to the post office doors while my benefactor hoisted the other two packages. We landed them in a stack on the countertop inside, and with a heartfelt “Have a great day!” he was gone, probably on his way to rescue a trapped child from a burning building or thwart Lex Luthor’s latest evil plot.
Good Samaritans. They’re out there. And never do their glowing good deeds stand out in starker relief than during this crazy, hustle-bustle season of love, goodwill, and bloody gladiator death matches over the last Cyber Stompin’ Bumblebee Transformer in stock.
I’d like to thank a few of them.
To my post office rescuer: Thank you for noticing what a hard time I was having juggling all those packages. Thank you for stopping in the middle of whatever else you were doing this morning and giving me three minutes, a smile, and two very needed helping hands. You were Christmas spirit personified.
To the lady who let me pull out in front of her when it looked like the horrible rush hour traffic was going to keep me locked in the gas station parking lot forever: Thank you for thinking of your fellow drivers. Thank you for pausing for a moment on your journey home from the office to help someone else get home faster, too. Thank you for the friendly wave you gave me and the understanding smile that made my tensed up shoulders and craning neck instantly relax.
To the older gentleman in front of me in the checkout line: Thank you for the sweet, spontaneous gesture of paying for my items along with your own. I wasn’t expecting that, and your “Merry Christmas!” and jaunty salute as you walked away sealed the silly grin on my face. I know it was only a few dollars for you, but it meant a fuller stocking for my kiddo, and a growing sense of gratitude in me. I hope you whistled Christmas carols all the way home.
To the three guys from my apartment building who helped me carry in a month’s worth of groceries last week: Thank you for lending your strong backs and arms to one very tired mom, fresh from wrestling a young child through several stores in an increasing state of grumpiness. I know you had just come back from playing basketball, and were probably tired yourselves, but you offered your help cheerfully anyway.
To the anonymous gift giver from church who paid for Paul and I to enjoy a night out at Wolf Lodge that first lean year we lived here, when we barely had money for rent: Thank you for seeing how much we needed a date night, and for providing a wonderful one. I’ve never had such delicious steak! And it tasted even better knowing that it was the generous offering of a heart that gave for giving’s sake, without expectation of return. That was a rough winter, and the loving family that surrounded us reflected a lot of warmth into our lives.
To the guy who pushed me out of the snow bank I was stuck in: Thank you for stopping to help when you saw another helpless Idaho transplant hung up in the snow like a tourist. Thanks for not laughing when I accidentally gunned the engine and dug myself in even deeper. This Georgia girl is still learning a few things about driving on snow and ice, and you made me feel better. Thanks to you, I got to school in time to pick Katie up.
To all good Samaritans: I’m glad you’re out there, shining your light, spreading your joy, lifting people’s spirits, and giving of yourselves so freely and without reservation that it clearly comes naturally. Whether it’s changing a flat tire or returning a shopping cart to the cart corral, the kindness you’ve shown has really made a difference. I promise to pass it on!
Have you met (or been) a good Samaritan?