The Human Thing to Do

I never imagined in a million years, that I would be sharing this story any further than myself and the unlikely stranger that is the center of this somewhat peculiar moment in time. But I am thrilled to be able to share it with all of you, just the same. May it serve as a reminder that the kindness of strangers does really still exist today. This happened quite some time ago, but I think it is so worth sharing. Every now and then, this person crosses my mind. I don’t know why, but he does.

I was on my way to church one Sunday morning. It was already hot and humid, even in the early morning hours of that particular day. From a distance I could see a man on a ladder, reaching up as far as his body would allow him to, in an effort to trim some of the tallest hedges I’ve ever seen. He reminded me of a tiny spider attempting to climb up a massive wall. As I drew nearer, I noticed a woman instructing the man on what she wanted done. The fact that he had removed his shirt, didn’t seem to bother her in the least, as she made her way across her expansive lawn and back inside her home. I couldn’t help but notice, that no glass or container of water had been offered to him in the midst her seemingly explicit instructions, nor did this man seem to have any water with him.

As I got closer, I could literally see the sweat dripping rhythmically from his brow and beading up on his bare chest. As I passed him from the street, I immediately became thirsty for him. My throat tightened as I swallowed hard. My heart went out to this stranger, as I witnessed his determination drive him to conquer the unconquerable; those humongous hedges that seemed to have no end. I quickly took a sip of my own bottle of water, that I almost always carry with me in my travels. Still, I was thirsty as the vision of this man, scorching in the hot Sunday sun, remained singed in my memory.

As I made my way to church that morning, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I thought about him during the whole church service. I prayed that the owner of the house would come to her senses and do the human thing and at least offer the man something to drink. I vowed privately to myself that I would go back home the same way, so I could see if the man was still there.

Would you believe? Low and behold, he was still there, burning up in the Sunday heat, just as he was when I first saw him. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Not only were the hedges majestic in height, but they were massive in width and so deeply thick in appearance, that he could have easily disappeared within their clutches. Of course, this man needed a cold drink and there was no way I was going to drive by and see him a second time, with no signs of libation in anywhere in sight, and just proceed on my merry way.

I drove several blocks down to an area McDonald’s and got a huge cup of ice and purchased a bottle of water. Never has there been a better union than that that of ice and water, as I brought them together in refreshing matrimony. I drove right back down to where the man was working, pulled over, parked my car, and casually walked up and greeted him. I remember making a comment on the enormous job that he had embarked on while extending the cup of ice water to him. He had a look on his face that I have never forgotten. He thanked me profusely as he readily accepted my gesture. He looked at me incredulously, almost as if he were seeing a mirage and said that he couldn’t believe that I would stop and do that. I simply said that I would hope that anyone would do the same. For me, it was the human thing to do. I wonder if that day ever crosses his mind? A day where he came face to face, with an act of human kindness.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Levi Thetford
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 23:04:21

    Very nice gesture, Sylvia. If he had never thought of doing such a thing he may now. It’s a valuable lesson to us all. Lord bless you girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. sporterhall
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 02:47:19

    Wow! Just think…you’re roughly six miles from where I live in Upstate New York. Be safe in your travels Levi!

    Like

    Reply

  3. sporterhall
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 02:48:04

    Oops…I meant to say that you are roughly 6 hours away from where I live. It must be time for me to retire for the night…lol! 🙂

    Like

    Reply

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