How to do Little but Make a Big Impact

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Have you ever been part of a seemingly every-day occurrence, such as taking a ride in a car… but one small difference made it a better-than-average experience?

This story is just that. Though, a more accurate categorization of it is having a crappy experience that turned out to be pretty good because of the other person in the car with me.

 

Here’s what happened.

My husband Josh and I were traveling back from an international vacation, and when we arrived in the states, there had been a nationwide cold front in place for a few days. Expecting to arrive to the sunny, warm weather we left in, we were surprised to land in Miami and be told our flight was delayed and possibly would be cancelled due to snow storms.

After sitting in the airport most of the day, our flight did finally board. We landed in Dallas, Texas hours later than originally planned and in an ice storm. The original plan was for me to head off to a friend’s house to visit for a couple of days while Josh headed off by car for a 5 hour drive to his next event.

When we got to the car, close to midnight, the engine wouldn’t turn over. So our situation was this…

  • We were wearing beach clothes
  • Had packed nothing but clothes for warm weather
  • It was late at night
  • There was ice everywhere
  • We were shivering, tired, and didn’t have jumper cables

 

We took off running, and sliding, across the ice into the nearest airport hotel lobby. I sat down trying to warm up while Josh went back outside to find any person driving nearby, stopped them and asked if they had jumper cables.

After 30 minutes of this, Josh tells me I should grab a cab and head out to my friend’s while he keeps trying to find help. As bad as I felt leaving him alone, I felt equally relieved I could get somewhere warm and go to sleep. So I took him up on his offer and headed out to find a taxi.

The first taxi I stopped, I showed the driver the address of the home I would be travelling to and asked if he knew how to get there. He squinted at my phone screen, moving it closer to his face, then farther away, then closer, and farther again. He asked me to read it to him, and then said he was sure he could find it.

I got a bad feeling in my gut, so I thanked him and told him I’d see if someone else was more familiar with the area. Then I stepped away.

I saw a second cab sitting down the drive scraping ice off his windshield. I asked him if he knew where it was. He looked at my phone, said yes, and I asked if he could take me there. He said yes, and I hopped in the cab.

What should have been a 25-minute drive and a $40 cab ride took over an hour. The roads were bad, I watched other cars slide around, and my taxi driver took it pretty slow. He stopped half way through to scrape the ice off of his windshield again. It was then I noticed he wasn’t really dressed for the weather either. He lived in Dallas after all, so he probably didn’t have much for winter clothes.

We were chatting as he drove. He was very kind. Kept asking if I was ok. Was I warm enough? Wanted to watch TV? Comfortable?

Josh texted me. He found someone to help and had gotten the car started. Things were looking up.

I started asking my driver questions. Where he was from? Did he like driving a taxi? His phone kept ringing, so he confessed his wife was calling him. He was supposed to be home hours ago and she was worried about him driving in the bad weather.

Turned out, he was supposed to be off work hours ago. He began driving at 6 AM that morning, it was now after midnight, and he was scheduled to pick someone up at 4 AM (a few hours from then). He kept trying to finish work for the day, but someone else would need help. He was on his way home when I ran up to his cab. And he didn’t want to see a woman, who was alone, stuck out in bad weather in the middle of the night. So he agreed to take me to my friend’s.

He was 5 minutes from home when he picked me up and now was over an hour from home after driving me to the other side of the city.

He said, “Sometimes it’s not about the money. It’s about helping people.”

 

When we got to my destination, he told me it was a $50 charge. I gave him $100 and thanked him, letting him know even though it wasn’t about the money, it was the least and only thing I could do to repay him for his kindness.

He sat in the driveway until he was sure I was in the house, and then he pulled away. I’ll probably never see him again, but I will always remember him. He made a bad experience better. Even though I was shivering with freezing, cold hands, he definitely warmed my heart and reminded me why it’s worth going the extra mile to help others.

What can you do, big or small, to impact others positively?

I will continue to:

  • Open doors and hold doors for strangers
  • Say “please” and “thank you” whenever possible
  • Ask for, and use, the names of anyone who serves me… anywhere
  • Express gratitude as often as possible (for all things big or small)
  • Occasionally do something inconvenient for me because it is helpful to someone else.
  • Contribute by sharing my stories, money, and skills with those who can benefit from them.

What do you do to impact others? I’d love to hear about it.

Please either share this post with others you think would enjoy it via Facebook or email OR share with me how I could improve them and make them even more helpful to you and those you care about. 🙂

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