Today I helped a woman at the gas station pump her gas.
While I was cleaning a layer of dirt and dried sprinkler water from my windows, she approached with broken English and a look of concern. This woman was easily past 60, dark eyebrows and hair, wrinkles everywhere. She was walking towards an older beige car, could have been a Honda but I didn’t pay that much attention.
She waved at me, then pointed to her car. As she kept walking, she said, “‘Excuse me, you help?” She was pointing at the gas pump, then to her hand. “I broke my fingers.”
She wasn’t wearing a cast and seemed intent on just getting to the pump, so I wasn’t sure what she was asking or why, and I hesitated. I don’t know why, but for a moment I was going to ignore her.
But instead I walked over, started her pump and when it was finished I put it back and closed up her fuel tank. She said not a word during the process. When I was done and already walking back to my car, the woman spoke again. She said thank you, bless you, and drove out of the station, and I drove out a different direction, and the event was completed without any more spoken.
As I drove off, I thought about what went down, and felt good. Someone asked for a bit of help, a small gesture, and it went a long way. Her thank you was genuine, and though the deed was little in my eyes, it helped her get through her gas station experience.
Small gestures go a long way.
A year ago, I’d venture to say that perhaps she was lying, perhaps her hand wasn’t really broken and she just didn’t want to touch the pump, afraid of germs or something. But that was then. I’m trying to stay a little more optimistic these days, and her eyes told me that her thanks was genuine, and really, what was it hurting to help someone who was asking for it?
Offer up a hand today. Receiving help and gestures of good deeds is great, but doling them out feels better. Be considerate.