I intended to provide an unexpected kindness on this day – the celebration of William Jefferson Clinton’s 65th birthday. Random kindness where there is a real need. The only thing more “clinton-esque” would be purposeful informed kindness where there is a real need.
With that intention I headed out on my errands.
Two cars were ahead of me at the stop sign. Neither showed any inclination
toward movement. The second vehicle, a white truck, pulled over to the shoulder,
rolled his window down and shouted to the driver at the stop sign, “Sumpin’ wrong?”
All I heard in response was a bunch of words punctuated by a “won’t go.” Instantly the second driver was out of his truck, yelled, “Neutral,” and put his shoulder to the back of the stalled truck. I don’t talk truck and I barely talk “car” (although I DO listen to “car talk” on NPR with great engagement) but I saw a Clinton kindness potential. I said if the stalled vehicle was still there when I was done with my post office errand, then I would offer my help.
Ten minutes later…there he was. Hood up. Puzzled look on his face. And one tired big dog pacing his truck bed. I pulled alongside and here was Bill Clinton’s birthday present, “How can I help?” This was all about the model of Bill Clinton’s capacity for kindness. So I didn’t asked, “CAN I help you?” His need for help was obvious. I asked, “HOW?”
Twenty minutes later we determined his battery was too dead for the kind of charge my old dependable could offer. But I did have one cell phone to his zero…so I offered that for calls. And, I prayed. I didn’t pray that I could start his car but that he would have a good solution. After determining I couldn’t help any more, I saw one thing I COULD do…his big dog was panting fiercely in the afternoon sun. I told him I’d be right back with a big bowl of water for his dog. Just as I was climbing back in my wheels that worked…the answered prayer walked up in a pair of Carhartts.
When I returned moments later with a big bowl of water…Mr. Answered Prayer Carhartt was walking out of a local business with an extension cord…plugged in to the source inside. He had a battery operated charger (just happened to have one in his truck) and assured the Big Dog’s man that ten minutes with that puppy plugged in – his car would start without a stutter. I patted the dog, shook the charge-ee’s hand and said to Mr. Carhartt, “I bet being at the right place at the right time is one of your best things.” He just smiled. Real big.
I walked away, happy. Now if it had been President Clinton offering that kind of assistance – he surely would have been recognized (for years international polls have named WJClinton as one of the most recognizable faces in the world). Me? He had no idea who I was and I didn’t tell him. No name – no sense of obligation. It was a purposeful kindness toward a specified need…and as I went my way home I found myself humming my favorite birthday song.
Happy Sixty-Fifth Birthday, William Jefferson Clinton. You inspire the world with your kindness, compassion and service.