Today, I helped somebody in need. I’m not telling this story to brag. I’m telling to let you know how humbled I felt.
On our way home from market (we participate in the Clear Lake Farmers Market), we stopped at Hy-Vee to get some groceries. We then went to their gas station to get fuel. While I was sitting in the truck, waiting for Lloyd to fill up, I was watching a person across the street.
I could not tell if the person were a man or woman at that point, and, I could not tell what he/she was doing. I could tell that he/she was moving, but, I wasn’t certain if he/she were walking or, as it appeared to me, trimming the grass along the curb. The person was dressed in a neon yellow/green shirt, which looked like it could have been a “caution – I’m here” shirt. Eventually, though, the person got closer, and I could tell it was a man.
I could also tell that he appeared to be having some difficulty. It looked like he was taking a few steps toward the intersection, but then, he would stop. I still could not tell what he was doing, as he was coming up a slight incline, but, I did wonder why he was on the road, rather than on the sidewalk.
After a while, he got to the corner, and I could see he had a cane. He stopped at the intersection, waiting for the light to turn. By that time, I was getting a bit concerned – he really appeared to be struggling to just walk. He had waited for one cycle of the lights, then started across. It took him two cycles of the lights to make it across the intersection!
I became very alarmed when he got to the sidewalk after crossing the road, and he seemed to be in a very big struggle to get onto the sidewalk! So, I got out of the truck, and ran to him, and asked if I could help him up the sloped walk. There was no curb, but, the poor guy almost lost his balance and began falling backwards towards the busy road. He told me, “no, I’ve made it”, and was trying to continue forward. Still having difficulty, I asked if I could walk with him. “That would be fine”, he said.
So, as we continued closer to the gas station, I asked him if we could give him a ride, then an officer pulled up. He got out, and walked towards us. He asked the gentleman if he were okay, and that somebody had called in concern about him. The gentleman said that he was fine, and he was going to Hy-Vee. I asked again if we could give him a ride, and he said, “that would be okay”. We talked a bit with the officer, and I left to let Lloyd know that we needed to give the man a ride. As I left, another officer pulled up, and thanked me as I went past him.
Well, to make this long story short (HA! *wink, wink*), this man, whose name Lloyd discovered is Gary, is a Vietnam veteran. He served in the Air Force as a medic. I had asked him if he were a veteran, and what made me do so, I’m not sure. But, those eyes… They were the eyes of a person who has seen many, many sad things. As I thanked him for his service, the officers stood to attention, and thanked him, and shook his hand.
Lloyd pulled the truck up to the curb so Gary could get in more easily, and I and one of the officers helped him.
Gary was thankful, and appeared to have tears in his eyes. I had tears in mine on the way home, as, I believe, did Lloyd. It was so very humbling. This man, who gave his service for our country, needed our help, but was hesitant to take it. We were HONORED to give it. And, it was just a bit surreal to have this happen on Independence Day weekend. A day we are to celebrate our country’s freedoms! This Fourth of July, I will remember the real reason we are celebrating. And, I will thank God for those who fought to give us those freedoms, and that reason.
Hope you all have a happy, and safe Fourth. And, please don’t forget the real reason!