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An Act of Kindness

In times of need, when we lack the means to fix a problem on our own and look to others for help, what happens when the people we would least expect are the only ones that come to our aid? An anecdotal tale written in the New York Times gives insight into an emergency situation where car trouble left a young man stranded on the side of the freeway hoping someone would be kind enough to stop and lend a helping hand. As tow trucks cruised past, and not a single friendly person seemed to care, he was surprised that the only people that were considerate enough to stop to help a complete stranger happened to be immigrants- Mexican immigrants to be exact- none of whom spoke any English.

The man who stopped to help him with the blowout tire had his whole family of four in tow, and was not bothered by the inconvenience that took nearly three hours to fix. The man wasn’t even aggravated when he accidentally broke his tire iron. What’s more, he quietly gave the broken one to his wife and sent her to buy a new one. When the man-in-distress inquired about their address so as to later send them a gift in gratitude for the big favor they did him, the immigrant’s daughter told him that they really lived in Mexico, that they were in this country for a few weeks more so that “Mommy and Daddy could pick cherries for the next few weeks,” and that they would soon go back home. And though he tried, the family would not accept any money in return for the great service they did him. In fact, just before leaving, the daughter- knowing he must be hungry- handed him a tamale for him to eat. At a loss for words, the young man extended his hands out and asked that they please take his money in thanks. The Mexican man just smiled and said, “today you, tomorrow me.”

This family, undoubtedly poorer than just about everyone else on that freeway, working on a seasonal basis, took a couple of hours out of their day to help a strange guy on the side of the road while people in tow trucks were just passing by him. This act of selfless generosity is one that is as moving as it is refreshing. After all, how many people would devote a few hours of their day to help someone they did not know out of the goodness of their heart- meaning, for nothing in return? An immigrant sure would.

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