I did a good deed yesterday.
I tend to be suspicious when strangers want something from me. I realize we all have moments when our cars fail in inconvenient locations or we realize our wallet is gone when we need money and we have no choice but to rely on the kindness of strangers.
But then how many stories have you read about the nice people who stop to help someone and end up being clubbed over the head and robbed? Or how those people who stand by the freeway with their phony sad sack signs make $10-20 an hour, tax free?
On the way home on the train a woman sat behind me and asked where she should exit. Her truck had been impounded downtown and she needed to get to Jubitz truck stop. I wasn’t completely sure but I told her what I knew.
A few moments later she offered to give me money if she could use my cellphone. (Have you heard the stories about people kindly lending their cellphones only to have the person run off with it?) I let her use it and refused her money.
She eventually told me her tale which goes something like this: she’s a truck driver and she’s gotten a citation related to her load a some time ago and the company she worked for never took care of it so technically, she’s not licensed to drive in Oregon. She was pulled over in Portland because of something with her trailer and when they discovered the license problem, they impounded the truck.
She had moments to get her stuff out — when she’s on the road she lives in the truck. The company she worked for fired her on the spot. So she’s basically stuck with whatever she can carry and no transportation or friends or family near by to help out.
She had gone to the truck stop and offered to clean some people’s truck in exchange for some cash and they asked her what was going on and she told her story and they were going to help her out and let her ride with them and help her get a job with their firm. (I guess hiring a truck driver isn’t like hiring a surgeon or investment banker.)
We chatted about truck driving and so forth. She seemed like a decent human being. She said she loved books on tapes. Who lies about liking books? It came time for me to exit at the park and ride. I knew offering a ride would be the right thing to do but I was still a teeny bit nervous about misreading her and also it was a long day and I wanted to get home and get something to eat.
I wasn’t sure how far the truck stop was from the train exit but I thought it might be a long walk so I went ahead and offered her a ride. And she was grateful and offered gas money, which I refused and I dropped her off without incident. A little plus offering in my karma bucket.