Have you ever seen an opportunity to do good or help someone out and flown past it?
It had been a long day at work and I was trying to hurry home to my family. I had already worked 10 hours without a lunch break and I was tired. In my mind I was headed for home. I was just getting on the freeway when I seen a young lady setting up a box full of personal items. I glanced as she held up a sign asking for help to get to the other side of the state. Not thinking I accelerated onto the freeway happy to be headed home.
I commute 1 hour each way to work, so once I get onto the freeway my mind begins to go through all the things that I need to accomplish when I get home. What are we going to have for dinner? I wonder how school was today? Were the kids good? I try to go through my day and the things I accomplished and the things I want to accomplish before bed… etc. I had gotten 25 minutes down the road when the image of that young girl asking for help popped into my brain. I spent the remainder of my drive- with nowhere to turn around for 25 miles kicking myself. Why didn’t I just stop when I first saw her. All she wanted was a ride. I could have taken her at least to the exit I get off of to go home. What if she needed a place to stay? What if that was my daughter just needing someone to stop and help. My mind formed the million possibilities of what I had just missed.
The wind was blowing and it was a miserable cold day. I fretted over that poor girl, young and probably just trying to find a ride back to school standing on the side of the freeway asking for help. I cried when I got home and told my husband what a terrible person I was. If I knew anyone in that area I would have called them and told them to go see if she was still there. I felt so terrible that I had the opportunity to help someone in need and my own worries and thoughts took over and I left the poor girl standing hoping for someone to give her a ride.
How often do we go through a day worried about “what is next” or “what I need to accomplish” and miss the opportunities to serve another. Or miss the chance to give someone the little help that they need when it is already “on our way” to what we are doing anyway.
Just for the sake of my own sanity, on my way home from work tonight I am stopping to see if that poor girl is still standing there. I pray she found someone that was kind and didn’t just pass her by as I did.
I realized last night as I reflected on my missed opportunity for kindness that I need to be more aware of my surroundings and stop and give help when the opportunity arises. I need to slow down a little in life and offer some help when it is put in my path.