About a week ago, I took my car to a repair shop to have some overdue work done. I’d tried a couple of other repair shops in my town, but had never been thrilled with the outcome, and was aware of this shop at the edge of town, so I figured I’d give it a try.
When I walked into the place, the owner was sitting at his computer behind the counter, and he was talking with an elderly man. The man was apparently trying to find an attorney’s office, and was lost. The owner, whose name is Ed, was talking to him kindly, and it was apparent he’d been using his computer to try and help the man to locate the office, but to no avail. And when there were no other options, he said to the elderly gentleman, “If you go home and find a name or address of the attorney, feel free to come back and I’ll see what I can do to help.”
Wow, I thought. Most people in repair shops don’t take the time to help someone who isn’t a customer. I was already impressed with the shop and its owner.
I came back in the next day to drop my car off, and Ed came back home with me to drop me off, then took my car back to his shop to work on it. A few days passed, and then he called me to say it was done, and came to pick me up. He showed up in his own vehicle, and held the door open for me to get in, then proceeded to his side. I got situated in my seat and realized that the bottom of the seat had been adjusted upward, so that my feet were literally dangling. I’m 5’1″, so this isn’t all that uncommon, however, such situations can be a little embarrassing. I asked him how to adjust the seat, and he explained, but as I stretched my hand down on the side of the seat, I had no idea how to make it happen. I said, “Oh, well, never mind…” And he said, “No, I’ll fix it for you,” and hastily got out of his seat again and came around to my side of the car. He adjusted it, and went back around.
I’ll be honest. As a single woman, I found him attractive, and he became even more so as I saw what a servant spirit he has. And as a single woman, I realized that with those few acts of chivalry, they became shining moments in my life that is barren of male chivalry. They may have not seemed like much to him, but to me, they were sparkling water on my parched and barren wilderness.
His gentlemanliness is in stark contrast to the man who, just a few days ago, flipped me off because I unwittingly began to change lanes on the freeway and nearly pulled into him, because he was in my blind spot–the blind spot I’d most assuredly checked just moments before. Or another recent scene where a male friend of mine walked into Starbucks ahead of me without even pausing to hold the door open, much less let me go in ahead of him.
As I’ve thought about the difference of how Ed touched my life, and the other two men affected me, I’ve realized that we have the power to create shining moments in other peoples’ lives as well. Ed also surely touched the life of that elderly man, who felt lost, incapable and ineffective.
In a world where many of us have become calloused to others because we’ve borne too much of their rudeness, crudeness and insensitivity, our spirits have become parched and dry. We need the sparkling water of someone else’s kindness. We crave those brief, shining moments that we hold in our hearts long after they are gone. And we need to be ones who provide that sparkling water to others, the living water of Jesus Christ.
And we are just as guilty of insensitivity. A man walked up to me at the gas station the other day with a gas can in his hand and said he needed some money to fill it up. Without hesitating, I told him I had no money–which was true–but I could have used my debit card to fill it up. Later, I wondered why I didn’t spend $5.00 on him. I, too, have become calloused.
I sat down yesterday and wrote Ed a thank-you note for his great work on my car, and especially, for dropping me off and picking me up. I even told him that I appreciated that he was such a gentleman, since it is so rare nowadays.
Hopefully he’ll have a shining moment or two when he receives it. As Christians, we are the light of the world. So let’s go about making it shine.