Lending a Helping Hand

Last night on the way home from the grocery store I met Craig. Craig is standing with his hands on his hips, looking at a large round chair covered in plastic to keep the rain off; then he’s looking to the door way listening to his wife who is certain the chair won’t fit.

I slow down as I pass by, I wasn’t going to say anything, but then I do. I said, ‘you need a hand with that?’ Craig looks doubtful, like he’s going to say no. So I take a few more steps walking away from him.

He catches my eyes, and looks almost shocked, maybe trying to look through me? It was silent, so I stopped again and said ‘I don’t mind’. Silent still was the response as Craig was trying to figure me out. Why would I stop, why would I offer to help, is there something wrong with me?

I break the silence again, and say, ‘well, that chair isn’t going to move itself!’ … and walk to towards his house with the open door that his wife is standing in. I said as I walk up the stairs of their porch, ‘how about you let me put my grocery bags next to your door on the porch here so the rain doesn’t get them wet, and I’ll help you move the chair?’

lending a helping hand

The wife agrees, Craig is still looking in misbelief. Then from quite a distance he reaches his hand out and says what’s your name? I respond with ‘Drew’. He answers with ‘Craig’. Done. No longer strangers.

Craig is a large man, about 6’3”, likely played some college football, maybe basketball. At about 55 yrs old, he didn’t seem to want to tackle the chair on his own, nor would I. My hand like a magician, almost disappears in his large paw. When he reached out I expected a strong, hard, handshake, almost to show his authority. I was surprised to find a welcoming, gentle but firm greeting as his hand shook mine.

From there, it literally took moments to move the chair into the apartment that was on the first floor, only a couple steps up the porch. It was a tight squeeze but even though his wife didn’t think it was going to work Craig and I knew different. We knew that it was going to work one way or another.

We put the couch down, I walked to the porch not to overstay my welcome standing in the middle of a home I’ve never been in before.

Craig reaches to his wallet and says, let me pay you for your time. I laughed hopefully in a non insulting way. And said, ‘don’t be silly, I didn’t do much’. He said, ‘I wouldn’t have been able to get it in here without you, take something’. I said, ‘I’ll take a handshake’. I reached out as did he. One more handshake and I was on my way.

His wife thanked me, what’s more is when I was leaving Craig didn’t look at me like I wanted something out of the deal. He had thankfulness and gratitude in his eyes. Which was more than enough payment for me.

Some might think this is a story of a helping hand, or even a story of being kind. But I think this is a story of being a human being. It’s human nature to want to help. Most of us are people pleasures to a fault, we put ourselves last and pay for it with our health.

I would say this is a story about being human, helping others when in need, and you know what, it changed my day. It gave me something to write about, it gave me a story to share, hopefully it’ll inspire others to give a helping hand and it made me feel better about myself, as all giving does.

If you ask me, I’d say I came out on top of this deal.

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