Last week, during a meeting with one of our planning teams, I couldn’t help but overhear an employee say, “Yep, I saw her trying to walk through the snow and slush with no boots, no hat, and a light weight coat, and I stopped and picked her up.”
Instead of a resounding congratulatory round of recognition, we, each and every one of us who were gathered around the conference table said things like, “Are you nuts? She could have killed you.” To which our employee laughed and said, “Actually, when I invited her to get in, I said, “I’ll give you a ride as long as you’re not planning to stab me or anything?”
“Instead,” she said, “the young woman smiled and with tears in her eyes said, “I’m just so thankful that you would offer me a ride.”
As the story unfolded, our Good Samaritan was told that this young woman had recently moved back here to be with her mother who had passed away a few months earlier. She, her husband and new baby were now trying to survive in a new town, a new apartment and an area where jobs are not significantly abundant for those without specific education acquired skills. The only work that her husband could find was in a low paying, home-based job. They did not have a car, and, in fact, as the conversation went on, she admitted that they did not have the proper furnishings for their baby either.
Our storyteller then proceeded to explain that she had decided that this woman would be her Christmas, and that, somehow, someway, she would get her the furniture that she needed for their baby.
At first we looked at her in wonderment of her perceived naïveté, but then we realized that what we were witnessing was truly the work of the Christmas Spirit.
Yes, she had taken a risk, a risk that, years ago would not even have resulted in anyone thinking about her decision. Yes, it seemed naïve to open herself to someone who could possibly rob her or attach herself to her in ways that would not be welcome, but, that was not what happened either. The woman was walking from the shopping center to the bank in the snow and wind and slush to make her rent payment, then back to catch a bus to her apartment where her husband was watching their sleeping baby and working at his telephone based job.
It was then that we all decided that, if she would permit us, we would all pitch in to welcome our new neighbor; this stranger, her husband and baby into our town. We would share in this spirit of giving by helping to make their world just a little better this Christmas.
It seems like a long long time ago when this would have just been what was expected. We have become so cautious, so skeptical and so cynical in a cold, fearful way. It sometimes feels like we are all enveloped in a crust of practicality that forbids us to reach out.
I’m glad our employee did what she did.
When I asked her why, she replied, “I’ve had Angels reach out to help me in my life, and I just want to give back a little.”
I’m also glad that she shared her Christmas story with us because it truly was a means to capture that spirit that might otherwise have just remained a memory.