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Some Random Acts of Charity
Recently, I thought about the times when I acted in a personal way to help others in need. These are random acts that have occurred throughout my life. I have forgotten about them but only upon reflections have they came back to my memory. It is funny how our mind works sometimes.
- Sept. 2016
As a Christian, we are taught to help our neighbors In need. Those also include strangers that we may come across in our travels as described in the Good Samaritan parable. We are all children of God. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. I tried to follow this rule as best I can.
- Years ago, on a business flight from NY to Denver, CO, I happened to sat next to an old Italian lady. She did not speak much English but I was able to understand that she was on vacation to visit her American cousin living in Boulder. She was traveling alone and did not realize the distance from Denver to Boulder was so great. I ask her how she plan to travel there and she thought she could just get a taxi. I explained that it was too far and would cost too much. Since I was driving to Boulder to visit an IBM location for work, I offered to give her a ride. She was very grateful. We arrived at evening in Denver airport and made our way to the rental car place and picked up a car and drove the few hours to Boulder. She had an address of her American cousin and it turned out to be in the University campus not far from the IBM plant. During our trip, she shared that her son was a successful physician in some city back home which I forgot the name. He paid for her first trip to America to visit a distant cousin she never met in person. She is a retired widow and enjoys traveling. We exchanges addresses and she insisted that whenever I go to Italy, to make sure I get in touch. They have a large house with plenty of space. When we reached the cousin's house in Boulder, they were so grateful that a kind stranger would take the extra step to help an old lady. Just seeing the faces of the two getting together after a lifetime was very touching. As I drove away tired from the long trip, I couldn't help but feel good about having done a good deed yet knowing that I would never see her again. Just two strangers passing in the night.
- A few years ago, I was at home when I received a call from my hairdresser. She lives not far fom our house. She was caring for her elderly mother who was living with her at the time. Apparently, she had fallen and could not get up by her self. My hairdresser is a small statured asian lady and does not have much upper body strength. I rushed over and was able to help her up to a chair. I could see the agony in her daughter's face. She was under the strain of caring for an elderly parent and with signs of Alzheimer disease. I empatized with her since we had gone through a similar situation with my mother-in-law a few years earlier. It was very draining to do this on a long term basis without help. I told her everything will be all right and reassured her. She had tears in her eye but I could tell she was grateful for my help. Sometimes, we all need a little support. Luckily, her mother did not break any bones. It was just one of those things that happen too often to people of old age.
- One day in the 1980s, I was driving to our local mall for some last minute shopping. It was near closing time and there was only a few cars in the parking lot. As I pulled into a spot, a young teenage girl came up to my window. She must have been around 15 or so. She gave a story of needing a ride home and ask if I could give her a few dollars to catch a bus. She explained she left her wallet home and did not have any means to get home. This was before the age of cell phones and she couldn't even call home. She seem earnest but I sense she was not telling me the whole story. I reached for my wallet and noticed I only have twenty dollars bill. I had to decide what to do. In that instant, I just decided to give her the twenty. She was surprised by my generosity and was very grateful. Back in 1980s, twenty dollars was not small change. I just sensed she was in some trouble and needed cash. My thinking at the time was to provide her the means to get away from the situation she found herself. My hope was she would learn a lesson and be more careful in the future and perhaps one mistake in judgement won't put her in danger. I never saw her again but I just hoped she made it home safely.
What Counts as a Good Deed
In my mind, a good deed is something that is done strictly for the benefit of the recipient. The provider does not profit from it or expect anything in return. The benefit derived is the self satisfaction in the act of helping. Knowing that your actions helped another person is the reward.
The old saying "it is better to give than to receive" is so true. In my own experience, I often find that giving something either money or gifts or time brings a self awareness and contentment that is hard to describe. Of course we all want to get stuff. The joy from giving surpasses all the cheers from receiving
The Bible also speak of giving in Matthew 6:1-4 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
In this hub, I describe three incidents from my past that came to me recently. I had forgotten about them and somehow, the memory just got recalled. I could not explain how it happened but it just did. I have no idea if there is some significance.