I received a gift tonight. No, not one that was wrapped and sitting under a tree, nor one that came in a box at all. The gift I received tonight was the gift of giving.
My boyfriend and I made our usual trip to the gym this evening. Usual, with one small caveat – he was almost out of gas. Now, this is a situation that historically has caused me great stress. Until my mid-twenties, I never let my car go below 1/4 of a tank. Yeah, I know. I am getting better; however, and the situation this evening only caused me mild distress until we pulled into the gas station with 1 mile left on the digital readout.
By the time Brock and I left the gym this evening, it was dark out (not cold, however. thanks, Atlanta for this springtime respite!). We saw a woman struggling with a gas can with her car pulled just into the driveway of the gym (a position we could have easily been in ourselves just 30 minutes earlier). Brock immediately stopped the car, rolled down the window, and asked if she needed help. She said she couldn’t get the nozzle of the gas can to operate according to the directions. Brock put his car in reverse, and pulled out of the driveway, hitting a piece of metal and blowing a rear tire in the process.
A brief interlude: After only a few weeks of dating, Brock spent an afternoon helping me as I purchased an apartment’s worth of furniture from IKEA, loaded it into a rental truck, and carried it up 3 flights of stairs. On our way back to the rental facility (after MANY trips up those damned stairs), we came across a man who had run out of gas just outside my new apartment. As the nearest gas station was a mile away, Brock offered to give him a ride there and back. We were exhausted. I was elated. I knew then I had a man worth keeping.
Undaunted, he got out, and proceeded to try to help the woman. It turns out that this gas can was either designed by or manufactured by complete morons, as it was impossible to connect the nozzle to the can in any fashion. She and I proceeded to mess with the pesky plastic piece of junk (eventually using a laminated brochure as a funnel in its place) while Brock went to change his tire.
We left the gym parking lot 20 minutes later than planned with gas on our hands, rumbles in our bellies and a busted tire. But we also left happy, filled with the authentic well-being that can only come from helping another. And that’s a gift we can all receive.