Don’t pass up opportunities to help a stranger

We have all gone the extra mile when it comes to studying for a test, finishing those last repetitions in the gym or perhaps cooking dinner for a special person in our life.

Last week, it occurred to me maybe we do this because we are inherently seeking to please ourselves – our innermost conscience —- because we know we will reap the reward at a later date. If we study hard enough, we will get that A on our test. If we work out, we will see results when we can fit into our jeans that are one size smaller. And last but not least, if we go out of our way to impress a loved one or someone that is really special to us, well the sky could be the limit. But what about opportunities presented to us in the most unusual circumstances that most often are ignored by the general public?

For example, a couple of weeks ago I stopped to get gas at a local station. As I was standing in line to pay the attendant behind the register, a man walked in and asked the attendant, “Excuse me, how much do you charge for a jump start? My van is across the street.” The attendant looked across the store and asked his co-worker, who was eating a burrito in his greasy work attire. He shouted out, “30 bucks!”

I looked back at the attendant and without thinking looked up at the man, who was dripping with sweat, and said, “It will be 30 bucks.”

The man who needed a jump start gazed at the floor for a moment. He looked up with a look of despair but a slight smile and said, “Thank you.”

I stood there with my cash in my hand and my pack of gum. There was a moment of awkward silence. The woman in front of me looked as puzzled as I did. Why wouldn’t they just help him out? He was obviously just right across the street. As the man walked back outside, I said, “That is ridiculous.”

I ran after the man and caught up with him before he crossed the street. I told him to give me 15 minutes, and I would meet him across the street. My jumper cables were at home. I quickly paid the attendant and raced home to get the jumper cables. We jump started his van, and I turned to him and said, “That will be 40 bucks,” and we had a good laugh together. I was happy to put a smile on his face after an upsetting experience on a very hot afternoon.

We all go the extra mile for ourselves or for people we want to impress, but it is the times when life brings us the unexpected opportunities that may be passing us by quite often. Don’t you think it is time to jump start your life and pay closer attention to those rare opportunities to go the extra mile for someone that needs a helping hand? I challenge you today to find one way to go the extra mile; not for you, not for someone you know, but for a complete stranger.

Kristin Price is a junior strategic communication major from Fort Worth.