Giving and Getting Help

This world is filled with so many different kinds of people.  A lot of times you just hear all the bad stories on the news, and people forget that we’re all human and there is good out there.  I would like to share a few stories here of people with open hearts helping others.  I’ve been in a lot of real stories, usually I’m on the giving end, helping people around me with big problems.  Though a few times I have been on the receiving end and it does feel good to have someone lend an open hand.

Growing up, I have had a mother with a very open heart to those around us.  If there was a neighbor in need they knew who to call, my mom.  She was in much better health at this time, and not nearly as troubled with money as she is now.  So, she was there for whomever needed her.  We had a few different families who relied on my mother a lot for help with getting things done.

One family, I remember very well, was going through all sorts of problems, but they were our friends.  So in their time of need, my mom helped with getting them on medical, getting money for things needed and would give them rides to their doctor appointments and going shopping.  This family knew if they needed anything they could count on us, and they did.  We were happy to help.  They got on their feet with all the stuff my mom helped with, and remained friends with us for a long time to come.

Though someone else my mom tried to help in the same matter, just used my mother.  The rest of the family wasn’t too keen on this lady.  Though she was my mom’s friend, so we didn’t say much.  The lady had a lot of bad luck, she had a son and boyfriend.  They stayed together, even when homeless.  My mom did everything she could to help them, from buying food, to paying for a hotel room for them to live in, giving them rides to places they needed, and even hiring the boyfriend for small jobs to help out here at the house.  Though my mom paid what she said she would do, she wasn’t able to pay more.  Her so-called friend turned around and tried to black mail my mother.  After going to the police with the blackmail letter, we never heard from her again.

For me personally, I had a friend who was going through a very rough time.  This friend was placed on a lot of medications and needed help getting her life back.  When we said we would like to help, she jumped at it and moved into my room for a year.  She had her own bed, and I even took down a wall of my TMNT collection to put up collectibles that I knew she would enjoy.  After one year of living in my house, this friend got the keys to her own apartment and is doing great with her own place to this day.  She’s still a really close friend of mine.

So I grew up helping people, getting help back was another story.  When I got injured at work, the same things that worked for helping others get medical did not work for me.  At school when I needed someone to stand up with me against the bullies, anyone who tried to call themselves my friends, disappeared.  Really, there are times I would wonder why I help as much as I do.  Then out of the blue will come those helpful people to remind me that there are those out there who have my back.  Besides for my family, they always got my back.

When on trips, so many friends have opened their homes to us to let us sleep on their couches.  When having issues with money, friends have offered and has helped with things by sending money in hard times.  Even for things as simple as Christmas gifts for someone else, people have been there to help me.  I can not thank those who have helped me when I call out in need, I try not to do it too often.

Though one of the times in my life where it was truly amazing for me to get help was in 2009.  Miki and I were on our cross country drive, we were a long way from anyone we knew as we were trying to go to the Grand Canyon, though the GPS took us down the wrong road which turned into a dirt road.  My VW Bug could not take the dirt road, which put a hole right through the middle of it. We were able to get the car back to a normal road, but sat there with only the cows keeping us company.  In the distance we could see the Grand Canyon, but no signs of life.  Our cell phones could not even get signal as we sat there stranded.

A black pick up truck came our way. They saw us sitting on the side of the road with my broken down bug and pulled over to offer some help.  Though they saw what we did, there was no road side repair that would get us back on the road.  So they offered to tow us back to town!   They turned their truck around and took the strap from the roof of my car and started to tow us, 80 miles back to a small town off of Route 66.

It was a scary ride for me, as it got dark and the battery was dead in the car.  All I could see was their emergency lights in front of me.  I knew we were going down hills as I could smell my breaks burning, and the little blue strap we used to pull my bug broke three times along the way.  Overall it was one of those times where I really thought I could die.  My sister sat in their truck, watching me alone in my car, as I cried in hopes that we could make it out of this scary spot.

Once we got to the town, the guys said their goodbyes to us.  Two strangers that went 160 round trip out of their way to help us.  Is there really any true way to say Thank you?  Miki and I got a hotel room for the night, as it was the weekend of July 4th, we knew no shop would be open the next day.  So we were to fix the bug on our own.  The Route 66 general store had a lot of good things to buy, so with my dad on the phone we made our list of things to get including JB Weld.

The next morning we went outside and bought everything on our list to fix the car.  Though when we got to the car we found that the jack that I own would not fit under my bug.  NEVER GET A VW BUG IF YOU LIKE TO TRAVEL!  They’re too low to the ground!   So, now the idea of fixing the car properly was thrown out the window. We were going to destroy the oil pan by just using the water proof jb weld over the full thing.  The main crack was near where the bolt goes in to let the oil out, so this oil pan was as good as dead.  With little room between the ground and the oil pan, I knew this was going to be a big pain, and the summer heat in AZ was not going to make it any easier.

I got up to call my dad and let him know what we had to do, though I turned to see a new stranger talking to my sister over at the bug.  So, I hung up with my dad and went over to find out what was going on.  The stranger got down and looked at my oil pan... “Oh that has got to come off” he said.  I was in shock, and expressed that we couldn’t take it off and didn’t have the money to put it in a shop.  He got up and smiled saying he was going to get his tools.  The man brought his RV around, with his wife and daughter.  They were heading to a friend’s for fireworks, but decided to cancel that to help Miki and I with the car.

I watched as he was able to jack up my bug, remove the oil pan, fix it, test it, and put it back on.  This was all done before noon the next day.  The payment for this wonderful work was a pack of cigarettes, a case of beer, sharing a pizza with his family and letting them use our hotel shower.  Overall I could not thank this family more for stopping and spending their forth of July with us.

To this day I have the oil pan checked every time I get an oil change, and the word always is “This oil pan does not need to be replaced yet.”  What an amazing job that was done.  We got the daughter a Facebook page in hopes of staying in touch with the family that helped us, though have not heard from them since that day.

This world is made up of all sorts of people.  And everyone at some point or another has needed help.  Have you opened your hands to help those around you?  If not, give it a try sometime!  For some day, you may be the person in need of help.  I know I never saw a day like that coming for me, but it was great that there were people willing to be there for us.

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