Way back when I was having some car trouble. I admit it. I am not good with cars. At all.
Yeah, I can drive one just fine. At least, I assume I remember how to (currently, no license in Israel). But when it comes to maintenance and just general knowledge, I know nothing.
The Little Car that Couldn’t
So when my car just wouldn’t start, I was perplexed. It turned out something connecting the battery was loose, and the fix was ultimately super simple. But the process of getting there was a big pain.
We constantly needed to jumpstart the car. Yes, I know it’s not the end of the world. But it’s certainly quite the inconvenience. You need to flag someone down. Sometimes the car batteries are hard to work with. Sometimes it’s hard to find someone. Sometimes it’s super hard if not impossible to get the vehicles in the right position. And, of course, other times you’re just in a big rush and don’t have the patience for dealing with any of this garbage.
And then there’s the matter of knowing what to do. As a car ignoramus, I had to learn how to jumpstart my car. And to this day, I still struggle with remembering the details of how to do it correctly. In fact, my wife and I created a mnemonic device to remember all the details. We based it on the song Red and Black from Les Miserables.
But I digress.
The Mighty Portable Jump Starter
One time, someone who helped with my troubles hopped out, and in a matter of seconds jumped my Toyota with some device he was carrying. I had never seen a portable jump starter before, and I was in awe. He’s doing the same thing he’d be doing with his vehicle, with some neat toy he was just carrying around.
No worries about trying to get his vehicle in the right position. No worries about cables not reaching. The whole thing took a matter of seconds.
And I knew at that moment: I needed to get one!
No, I was still by no means a car expert. But when you’re driving along and see a car stopped on the side of the road, and you hop out and save the day in a matter of seconds, then hop back in your ride and drive off into the sunset, you feel like you’re the king of the car.
King of the Car
And it happened over and over again. In fact, once I was working at a school in Kansas. I was in charge of pickup duty at the end of the school day. Car after car pulled up in front of the school, and we chucked all of the students into them.
And one day a van pulled up… and boom, the driver was stuck. He was upset, agitated, and frustrated. And I ran off, grabbed my beautiful new happy device, and voila, problem solved in seconds. No hassle. No cables flying everywhere. He was able to get his car out of the way of the dozens of impatient parents behind him, and I was able to walk away feeling like I was the master of helping others.
Moments like this got me thinking about some stories I either watched or participated in over the years.
Good to be Prepared
Once I was hitchhiking in Gush Etzion and the driver was complaining about a cut on his finger, shaking it repeatedly because the cut was stinging a whole lot. I reached into my handy-dandy backpack, and while we zoomed along I put some Neosporin and a Bandaid on his bothersome laceration.
He referred to the Neosporin as magic!
Another time I was on a bus in Israel, and some poor girl had a nasty nosebleed. She was super frustrated and couldn’t contain her firehose nose. And then some awesome person mosied on over to her and handed her a roll of toilet paper.
I just happened to have Neosporin and a Bandaid on me. Some passerby happened to be carrying a roll of toilet paper (practically Israel’s version of a box of Kleenex). And, of course, I started driving around with a portable battery charger in my trunk.
What do all of these stories have in common? They all involved carrying something that was extremely useful, and being in the right place at the right time.
Right Place, Right Time
But is being in the right place something we can facilitate by being prepared all the time? Is there some way to always carry with you just the right batch of items so you’ll be ready to help others whenever the need arises?
So carrying a portable battery jump starter around with me everywhere I go isn’t very convenient. But many things are. Heck, I have a bottle opener attached to my keychain. Even that has come in handy numerous times. I remember once just walking along the mesila path in Jerusalem. There were a whole bunch of teenagers gathered together. Some poor girl was trying to open her soda on the side of a tree. I walked right up to her and held out the bottle opener.
She was perplexed.
Which is the common reaction when someone helps out of nowhere. Being a good person makes everyone around us happy. And yet it’s not expected of any of us.
But I want to always expect it of myself. I want to be willing and ready to be as helpful as possible whenever the opportunity arises.Being a good person makes everyone around us happy. And yet it's not expected of any of us. I want to be willing and ready to be as helpful as possible whenever the opportunity arises. Click To Tweet
The Guy I Want to Be
So what’s the best bang-for-my-buck bunch of items to always have on hand? What can I toss into my backpack and feel that no matter where I go, if someone needs a little help, I’ll be ready and capable of being there for them? You know, without carrying around crutches, a defibrillator, and an MRI machine.
Do you have any stories like these? Stories where you or someone else was carrying around just the right item at the perfect time, and was able to make someone’s day a whole lot better because of it?
That guy! I want to be that guy all the time.