The wind was howling, sleet was slashing at his windshield, and he was devastated to have been turned down for another job. Suddenly he saw an old lady stranded on the side of the road. It was obvious that she needed help. He pulled his beater car up in front of her Mercedes and got out. Even though he had a warm smile on his face, she was worried. He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in my car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan, Byran Anderson.” It turned out that she only had a flat tire, but for an elderly woman, that was enough to strand her.
Bryan skinned his knuckles a time or two, but had the tire changed in no time. He called her back to her car. She said that she was from Toronto and was only passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he put the tire, jack and tire iron in her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. Bryan never considered being paid. This wasn’t a job, it was helping someone in need, and plenty of folks had given him a hand in the past. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, to give it to them, and he added, “Think of me.” He watched as she drove off. It had been a cold, wet and depressing day, but he felt good.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She stopped to grab a bite to eat before making the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant with two old gas pumps out front, but was spotless inside. When the waitress came over, she had brought a clean towel so the woman could wipe her wet hair. The young girl had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was very far along in her pregnancy, but never let the strain and aches affect her kind and gentle attitude.
She asked the girl why she was working this far along. The girl said there were very few jobs left anymore, that almost the whole town was unemployed, so she was lucky to have a job at all. The old lady wondered how someone, who had so little, could still be so kind and giving to a complete stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.
When the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get change, but when she returned, the old lady had already slipped out the door. The waitress stood at the table watching the woman drive away. It was then that she noticed the old woman had written something on a napkin. Tears welled in the girl’s eyes when she read: “You don’t owe me anything sweetie. I’ve been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you want to pay me back, don’t let this chain of love end with you.” Under the napkin were nine more $100 bills.
After tables were cleared, sugar bowls were filled and the lights were turned out, the waitress finally headed home. As she climbed into bed beside her husband, she was thinking about the money, and what the woman had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be so hard….it broke her heart to see her loving husband unemployed, crying in the shed this morning when he thought he was all alone. She gently ran her fingers through his hair, and as he lay sleeping next to her, gave him a soft kiss and whispered sweet and low, “I love you, Bryan Anderson.”