The gift of Giving
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
His name was not Green but that's what i thought i heard when he shook my hand and asked me to accept his money. I didn't have time to ask him to spell his name, neither to repeat it one more time for me. We had been hanging in the middle of the street for more than half an hour blocking half of the upcoming cars and it was time for us to free up the lane and go back home.
I met Green on a freezing cold day of winter 2018. I was driving back home when i realized something was wrong as cars were not moving forward in spite of the green light. After a quick glance i realized someone was stuck in the middle of my lane forcing all cars behind it to switch to the adjacent one. No need to say, that was creating chaos and frustration among the drivers as we were all impatient to cross the traffic light and get back home.
Just like all the cars in front of me, i took a swift turn to the left and gave a quick look at the stuck driver while overtaking. That's when i saw this elderly man shaking in panic. His eyes were wide open and his hands were moving frantically from left to right while he was trying to revive his old mini van.
Without thinking twice I parked on the side of the street and ran towards him. I took him by surprise when i knocked at his window because he bounced on his seat and retracted his shoulder in fear. After a few seconds, he opened the window and i asked "Are you ok? Do you need me to call someone for you?". He stared at me for a second, then slowly collected his thoughts and said with a startling voice 'My gas....I....I...ran out of gas". I could tell he was embarrassed but I quickly reassured him "No worries, there is a gas station just across the bridge. Wait for me here, i will go buy some gas and come back to fill up your tank".
He looked perplexed and didn't say a word while i ran back to my car and took off.
Traffic was horrible and those few hundred feet to the gas station felt as miles away. I was worried about him and wanted to be back as soon as possible. Once at the gas station I purchased a gas can, filled it with as much fuel as i could and drove to an empty parking lot situated few yards away from Green's car.
When i knocked at his window he seemed again extremely surprised to see me. It took me overall 20-25 mins to go and come back so he had probably lost his hopes of seeing me again. When he realized i was holding a can he jumped out of the car and thanked me for coming back. Without further ado I opened his tank lid and got ready to pour the gas inside but the can was sealed so well i couldn't open it. That week the temperature outside was well below the zero and an unforgiving wind was blowing in all directions making the cold even worst. After few minutes of hanging outside without my gloves my hands were so cold i couldn't feel my fingers anymore so my grip was too weak to open the lid. Seeing me struggle, Green kindly asked me to let him try. He was wearing elegant black leather gloves that gave him a better grip but in spite of that the lid had the best on him. At this point we were both freezing and getting frustrated so i asked him to hand the can back to me and while squeezing the lid with all my strength i looked up in the sky and said aloud "C'mon Universe, give us a hand!!!!!". Two seconds after that the lid finally cracked open.
As i started to pour the gas in the tank i noticed with the corner of my eye that a car was waiting right behind us but i was too cold and too busy trying to keep my hair out of my eyes and mouth to bother telling this dumb driver to switch to the adjacent lane so i ignored him and kept pouring gas until the can was fully empty. Once done, i asked Green to go back into the car and i handed him the empty can. He looked at me puzzled and said "You bought it, it's yours. Also, I should give you some money...hold on, let me get my wallet".
Before he reached to his wallet i took his hand and asked him "What's your name Sir?". He looked at me and said his name but i couldn't hear a thing..the wind was blowing stronger than ever and it completely covered his voice so i shook his hand and shouted "Don't worry Green, the can is yours and I don't need any money. I'm glad i could help you and i hope you will have a great evening! Now please pull the window up because it's freezing outside!".
I waved at him as i ran towards the back of his car. That's when i realized police was waiting behind us to deviate the upcoming traffic towards the other lanes. I stopped abruptly and i lifted my hand as a sign of apology while i circled Green's car and ran across the lanes to reach my own car. The officer nodded and gave me a quick smile. I was shivering with cold but a strong feeling of warmth pervaded my entire body. As i got into my car i took a minute to reflect. There is something special about giving to others, it connects us to a deeper level and reminds us that regardless of race, age, religion or any other criteria we are all here to love and support each other. I closed my eyes and secretly thanked Green for giving me the chance to experience the purest version of Love.