In Gratitude For The San Diego Highwayman
The following happened during my stay in San Diego, California in 2012. I was going to college there for 9 months and lived in the hippie and surfer district Ocean Beach. I miss Ocean Beach, I miss our grocery store, I miss the OB noodle house, I miss the people, and even our George Clooney-lookalike car retailer. I miss everything.
But this post isn’t about the things I miss, it’s about my gratitude and overwhelmed feeling I want to express regarding one certain situation:
Me and N. were driving home from school in our beloved car – bought from the above-mentioned Clooney-lookalike. All of a sudden the fuel gage started to lighten up. On the basis of fact number 1 that our way home was only about 10 minutes and fact number 2 that you can usually keep on driving for quite a while even with low fuel we did not fill the tank. And this is the part where I usually say something like: ‘I have to tell you a story but it actually sounds too stupid to say it out loud!’. Yes, our car stopped ON the highway because we were running out of gas. LAUGHING MY ASS OF! Let me skip over the next few moments of the story: 1. our friend A. got gas for us, 2. N. had to go pick it up by foot due to high traffic (luckily this happened close to the highway exit), 3. I stayed in the car.
Suddenly a truck full of America flags stopped right behind me. A beautiful b/w dog as a co-driver. This grey-haired, Cowboyhat-wairing guy got off and walked towards our car. I pulled down the window. ‘What’s wrong?‘, he asked. This is what then happened:
Me: It’s all good, don’t worry. We were running out of gas but N. is already on her way to get a container from A.
He: Noo way, call her to come back. I will give you gas.
Me: But she is already on her way. Really, it’s all good, no worries.
He: Well okay, let her get the gas. But I will give you gas nevertheless. This way you don’t have to worry about filling in the gas on the highway. Keep the container for another emergency situation.
Me: (hesitant) Okaaay …. how much do you get for it?
He: Right, nothing.
Me: … umm, but where is the catch?
He: There is no catch!
He now saw my confused facial expression and handed me a card. He said: “Never interrupt the chain of love.”
The red card had a rose on the one side and a horse riding towards the sunset on the other side. Next to the images it said: Assisting you has been my pleasure. I ask for no payment other than for you to pass on the favor by helping someone in distress that you may encounter. You don’t owe me a thing. I’ve been there too. Someone once helped me out, just the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here’s what you do: Don’t let the chain of love end with you.
Since his specific experience around 15 years ago the highwayman is driving around to help people in need. Believe it or not, this guy has been doing nothing but helping out people for 15 years now. This is his life task. And now it’s my turn. Never interrupt the chain of love!
I couldn’t say a word. I was so overwhelmed that I could hardly drive the car. I called N. to wait at the next CVS store (yes, I even miss CVS).
I was just filled with gratitude in that moment. This situation taught me a lot about life, about giving and receiving, about gratitude. Imagine, if there would be more people like him out there. The world would be such a happy place.
Have you experienced something like that before?