Monday, February 17, 2014

Pay It Forward - Bryan Anderson Story


     One day a man saw an old lady stranded on the side of the road and, even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His very aged Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

     Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. For the last hour or so, no one had stopped to help and there was very few traffic on this seemingly deserted road.

     She began thinking to herself, "Is he going to hurt me? He doesn't look safe. He looks poor and hungry."

     As he stood out in the cold, he could sense that she was frightened and he understood how she felt so he tried to comfort her. "I'm here to help you ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm. By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.

     Well, all she had was a flat tire but for an older lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. Not only was it very cold outside but, because he was working on a dirt road, he had gotten very dirty and his hands hurt because he had no gloves.

      After putting the spare tire on, as he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began talking to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid.

      Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. She was willing to pay any amount because she realized, had it not been for him, she would more than likely still be sitting on the side of the road waiting for someone to stop. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened: somebody might try to rob her at gunpoint, maybe somebody would hijack her car, maybe break into her car then rape and kill her.

       Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need and he remembered the many time, in his past, when someone had given him a hand. He had lived his whole life that way --- helping others --- and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

      He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed. Then Bryan smiled and added, "And think of me."

      He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day but he felt better now. He had a warm feeling inside, with his spirits being lifted, as he headed for home.

      A few miles down the road, the older lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat and take the chill out before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her.

      The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

      Aftert the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill but the lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back to the table. The waitress wondered where the lady could be.

      Then she noticed something written on the napkin. There were tears in the waitress' eyes when she read what the lady wrote, "You don't owe me anything. I have been there, too. Somebody once helped me out the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do... DO NOT let this chain of love end with you. If there is ever a time when you can help someone in need.. do so. And think of me."

And under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

      Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill and people to serve but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed? With the baby due next month it was going to be hard.

      She knew how worried her husband was and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered softly into his ear, "Everything is going to be alright. I love you, Bryan Anderson."

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