Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What is the most thoughtful/kind act you’ve ever witnessed. Follow me on Quora.
After my freshman year in college, I decided to take a year off and live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My parents were not supportive of my decision, so I had support myself entirely. I worked in restaurants and coffeeshops and was as broke as you could be.
I bought a old junker Volvo. I think I paid $750 (this was 1995). It never ran right from the start, but I couldn’t afford the necessary repairs. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but cars have come a long way. Cars used to regularly break down. Good cars sometime did and newer cars sometimes did. Owning an older used car was a guarantee to inconvenient break downs.
The car’s engine compression was shot. It required rebuilding or replacing the engine which wasn’t an option. It the morning, it wouldn’t start. I lived on a hill and would have to park it there, pointed downhill, so I could do a “hill start.” Letting the car gain momentum on it’s own and then shifting it into gear, which start the engine running.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t always a hill nearby. In those cases, it needed a running start with either myself and someone else pushing it to get it to sufficient speed to start.
This went on for a couple months before the car just died, but in the meantime I was assisted by countless people who would see my hood open, stop and inquire if I needed help. Most didn’t have any inkling of car mechanics, but just felt compelled to help.
It was often a helpless feeling, staring at my car stuck in empty parking lot at night, wondering how I would get home. Inevitably, someone would just pull up and ask if they could help. I was amazed every time someone stopped to help. It was the every rare instance that it did not happen.