Monday, August 11, 2014

The nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

Back in the summer of 2001 I was working for a repair shop. I don't fully remember the circumstances surrounding my situation but I remember I didn't have any money. My bank account was empty and there was nothing in my wallet. I'd even searched the couch cushions and there was nothing there either. I was flat broke.

Part of my job consisted of driving around town and delivering repair work to different stores. I drove my own car, and was paid for mileage, but it was Wednesday and I didn't get paid until Friday. I had enough gas to make the deliveries that day, but I knew I wouldn't have enough gas to get to work and make my deliveries for the rest of the week. I really didn't know what I was going to do. It sounds silly but it was one of the more desperate experiences in my life.

I was fairly new to the job so I didn't want to mention it to my boss. I'm sure my parents would have helped, but this was before the time of easy money transfers, and I wasn't in the habit of asking them for money anyway. Thinking about it now, I'm sure there were plenty of solutions, but nineteen year old me was pretty stuck and more than a little worried.

The worry must have shown on my face because my coworker, Jenna, asked what was up. I was hesitant but eventually I told her I was broke and wasn't sure how I was going to make it to Friday. She said something to the affect of "I hear you, I've been there myself," and then grabbed her purse and handed me a ten dollar bill. We hadn't worked together all that long and I barely knew her, so the gesture was completely unexpected.

I've been given a lot of nice things over the years and owe a lot of appreciation to a lot of people in my life, but that ten dollar bill, as meager as it may have been, was probably the most significant gift I have ever been given. It's hard to describe how big of a relief it was. It was a life line. No amount of money, before or since, has ever been as valuable to me. I put ten dollars worth of gas in my Ford Tempo that night and had plenty to get me around town the rest of the week. That Friday I got paid, and I've never allowed myself to get that broke again.

I doubt Jenna even remembers giving me the money, and I'm sure she never expected me to write about it thirteen years later. I haven't even seen her for eight or nine years but I doubt I'll ever forget what she did for me. If I ever do see her again, I'll make sure to thank her again.

I think it goes to show that even the smallest of actions can have a huge impact.

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