Last night, a man wrote to a radio show to recall one Christmas – decades ago – when a stranger’s car broke down outside his home.
The stranger’s car had a flat tire. It was an rickety old car, without a spare tire in the back. A family of three –- a husband, wife and their child — were stranded on Christmas.
The man greeted the stranded family. He invited them inside his home, where his wife fixed them tea. Then he drove the father to a 24-hour shop to look for a new tire.
The stranded father protested that he couldn’t afford a new tire. So the man asked the shopkeeper if he had any good-quality used ones.
The shopkeeper did, and offered it for $25. The man bought it as a Christmas gift for the stranded family.
“How can I repay you?” the stranded father asked.
“Pay it forward,” the man replied.
That was decades ago. Who knows where the family is now? Who knows what they’ve done for others? That will always be a mystery.
But one thing is certain: The helpful man recalls that evening with fondness and clarity. Even today, decades later, he receives sustained joy from the memory of helping the stranded family.
In other words, the stranded family paid it forward — unexpectedly — by revealing the joy of giving.
Happy Holidays from Afford Anything.
Thanks to Alex Proimo for today’s photo.