Potholes and the PW Manager and the rest of the story

Filed in Uncategorized by on March 30, 2019

One rainy day in late March, Bryan, the PW Manager for a small town, had just left his office for the drive home when he spotted yet another large pothole in the road – one of the hundreds that had already appeared throughout the town. “It’s almost like clockwork … every spring …,” he said to himself. “These darn Canadian winters …!” And, sure enough, standing there beside her car, with its four-way flashers blinking, was an elderly lady. She had obviously hit that pothole and, with a badly bent rim and a flat tire, pulled off onto the shoulder. Bryan pulled up in front of her car – a Mercedes – and got out. His old Pontiac was still sputtering as he approached her, making a mental note to tell the foreman about the pothole the next morning.

Although she could see the smile on his face, she was worried about her safety, standing there alone at the roadside, with a strange man approaching. But she had been there for over an hour, and no one else had stopped – and she was desperate. It had been a hard day for Bryan, too. He was tired and hungry, and as usual, there was too much month left at the end of the money at home.

He could see that she looked frightened, and immediately tried to reassure her. “Hi there, ma’am,” he said, with a big smile on his face, “it looks as if you could use a little help. I’m Bryan Anderson. Why don’t you wait in your car where it’s warm while I have a look at the problem here?”

Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles in the process. He soon had the new tire in place, but he looked a bedraggled mess.

As he was tightening up the last of the lug nuts, she opened the door and began to talk. She told him she was from Moose Jaw and just passing through on her way home. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.

Bryan didn’t think twice about being paid. He had been taught at a very young age to help people, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. This wasn’t a job … this was just helping someone in need … a small mission of mercy. And God knew there were plenty of people who had given him a hand along the way.

He told her that if she really wanted to repay him, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed. He added, “And think of me when you do it!”

He waved his ball cap as she started her car and drove off.  It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home.

A few kilometres down the road, the old lady saw a small cafe with a couple of rusty old gas pumps out front. The sign read “Buy Food Get Gas Here”. She pulled her Mercedes up in front and went in to grab a coffee and a bite to eat … “… something to take the chill off …” she thought.  “Then I’ll be ready for the last leg of the long trip home.”

It was a dingy looking place with no other customers in sight, one that obviously struggled to stay afloat. But a tired-looking and very pregnant waitress hurried over and gave her a clean towel to dry her still-wet hair. The waitress, who introduced herself as the owner, the cook and the gas jockey, had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The old lady guessed that it must be quite a grind to operate the place single-handedly and wondered how someone who had so little could be so upbeat and so nice to a stranger. Then she remembered.

After the old lady finished her meal, she paid with a $100 bill. The waitress quickly went to the safe in the back room to make change, but without saying a word, the old lady slipped right out the door and into the night. She was gone by the time the waitress returned. As she worked at clearing the table, the waitress noticed something written on a napkin.

Tears came to her eyes when she read what the lady had written: “You don’t owe me anything. I’ve been there, too. Somebody helped me out earlier today … now I’m helping you.

Under the napkin were nine more $100 bills.

Well, there was work to be done before she could close up for the night, but, she finally got it all done. She arrived home after midnight, and finally climbed into bed, thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the woman have known how much

she and her husband needed the cash? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard…

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay there sleeping soundly beside her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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