The old lady stranded on the side of the road clearly needed help. A flat tire can be a daunting task for even young women. He parked his old car in front of her Mercedes. His appearance worried her. But no one had even slowed in the hour or more that she had been stopped in this cold, steady rain. He didn't look trustworthy; he looked poor and hungry. Could she trust him? Was he going to hurt her?
He could see that she was frightened. He said, "I'm only here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan."
Soon, he had the tire changed, and as he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and told him that she was only just passing through and couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk.
She offered him money. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened, had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. Many had given him a hand in the past. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed. Bryan added, "...and think of me."
He watched her drive away. It had been a cold and depressing day, and he had plenty of difficulties himself. Helping her had actually brightened his day.
A few miles down the road, the lady stopped to eat at a small restaurant. It was old and dingy, but she was hungry and wasn't sure to find another open that late. Although it was closing time, the waitress cheerfully greeted her and quickly brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. Noticing that the waitress was pregnant and near term, and was wearing old, frayed clothing, the lady concluded that she really must need the money to be working in her condition.
The food was surprisingly tasty, and the service was better than she always received in the fine restaurants of the distant city. The lady pondered how someone who had so little could be so kind and giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan. To pay her check, she gave the waitress a $100 bill and quietly slipped out the door. When the waitress returned with the change, she noticed the note written on the napkin next to four more $100 bills. Tears filled her eyes as she read:
"Somebody nice helped me out of a difficult situation today. If you really want to pay me back, help someone in need ...and think of me."
As usual, her work day had been long and very tiring, but this day was ending with joy and hope. As she watched her husband approaching in their old car, she wondered if the lady could have possibly known how much they needed the money. Her husband had just been laid off at the factory, and she had gone back to the restaurant until he could find other work. Her excitement mounted as he drove up. Settling into her seat, she exclaimed: "Oh Bryan! The nicest thing happened tonight!"