LESLIE CRISS: Random acts of kindness renew faith in humanity

LESLIE CRISS

LESLIE CRISS

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey

“The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.” – Robert Burns

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Although my day did not turn out as I’d planned, I learned something very important two Saturdays ago. There are still a lot of folks in the world who practice kindness.

My plan was to ride with my friend Cheryl in her truck to return a load of metal bunk beds we’d borrowed from Kamp Kumbaya near Eupora for Corinth Theatre-Arts’ recent production of “Biloxi Blues.”

We set out early Saturday to return the beds, with the hope of getting back to Tupelo before noon.

That plan, however, was thwarted by a bad battery.

Before we even started out, we discovered the truck would not crank. A visit to Frank’s Battery Service near my house in east Tupelo led to the first kindness of the day. An employee there, whose name I did not get, followed us to the house with heavy duty jumper cables and got the truck started. No charge.

We should have bought a battery then, but we thought it would hold a charge.

We ran an errand or two in town, then stopped for gas. Of course, one turns off the ignition before pumping gas.

Gas pumped, snackage purchased, the truck, again, was dead as most armadillos I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Cheryl asked one man who was leaving the station if he had jumper cables. He did not.

Then a car pulled in to gas up just in front of our truck. They immediately offered assistance.

Mitch and Toby worked with us for quite a while to help get the truck started. They were kind beyond measure and Ole Miss fans, to boot. But their jumper cables would not do the trick.

Suddenly, the first man who’d left after telling us he had no jumper cables, drove up. He’d gone home to get jumper cables and had come back to help us. Amazing.

Horace was able to get the truck started and encouraged us to let it run for a good while.

We hit the Trace and headed south toward Eupora. The truck ran fine, but I encouraged Cheryl to leave it running while we helped our friend Jerrod, caretaker at Kamp Kumbaya, unload the bunk beds back into a camp cabin.

Truck still running, we headed back to Tupelo, but not before stopping on the side of the highway outside Eupora for a photo opportunity. Before giving it much thought, Cheryl killed the engine. And we were stranded.

Immediately a kind man, grandfather of nine, came over in his truck with jumper cables, but they did not work. Then Jerrod showed up, removed the dead battery and took Cheryl into Eupora to buy a new one. Then he replaced it for us, and asked us to call him when we were safely back in Tupelo.

In the course of five hours on a sunny fall Saturday, six people came to our rescue and gave their time and energy to help two people they did not even know.

Random acts of kindness.

For which we are so grateful.

leslie.criss@journalinc.com