In case you missed this great story in the November 5150 bulletin by our own Jim Carriere, please read it here.
I recently heard of an elderly couple that was towing a trailer to pick up some furniture for their grandson. Just outside of Batesville, Arkansas, the trailer came unhitched, the safety chains broke, and at 65 mph the entire unit flew across both lanes of the interstate highway and rolled to a stop off to the side, tearing off a fender, blowing out a tire and bending the trailer tongue.
Luckily, no other vehicles were hit and no one was hurt. When the Arkansas State Police arrived, the Trooper could have, and probably should have written the couple a very expensive ticket for the safety hazard they had created. However, seeing how shaken the pair were, instead helped the old guy pull the trailer out of the median, put the spare tire on for him, then followed the two to the nearest hotel in town. Before driving off, he told them he would be back at 8:00 the next morning.
True to his word, the next morning the Trooper met the couple in the lobby and led them to his brother's nearby machine shop. The brother straightened the trailer tongue, re-welded the fender and attached two new safety chains. The repair took over an hour and the couple, fearing the worst, was confused when presented with the handwritten invoice for $20. The gentleman protested and insisted that the shop owner take at least $50, but the owner held up his hand, stated that his father had always taught him to help others, and insisted that $20 covered his costs.
This story isn't about the elderly couple, it's really about what two residents of Batesville, AR could have done (and what many others would have done), but instead chose to do. The Trooper could have written a ticket, but didn't. He was certainly under no professional or personal obligation to do anything but clear the highway, but chose to take the extra steps to get the couple on their way. The owner of the machine shop knew the couple was stranded hundreds of miles from home, and could have stuck it to them on the bill, but didn't.
I have no idea if those gentlemen are Rotarians, but they certainly acted like it. So my question is, in your daily decisions, do you choose to make a difference?
By the way, in case you haven't figured it out already, the elderly couple are my parents, and soon my son will be sleeping in the bed they eventually retrieved from my brother's home in New Orleans. They will always be grateful that those gentlemen chose to make a difference, and so will I.