Light in the World

It was a cold, rainy day when the man saw an old lady on the side of the road with a flat tire. He pulled his rattling pickup over and got out. He looked poor and hungry and he could see she was frightened, My name is Mike Johnson , ma’am, and I’m just here to help you. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? It was a nice car and expensive; Mike skinned his knuckles crawling under to fit the jack. Eventually, though he was dirty, and his hands hurt, he got the tire changed. As he was tightening the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and told him that she was only passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. She imagined the awful things that might have happened had he not stopped. When he finished she asked, “How much do I owe you?” “Ma’am,” he smiled. “Next time you see someone in trouble just think of me.” A few miles down the road the lady stopped at small cafe. As she went in the waitress saw that she was wet and immediately brought her a clean towel. She had a sweet smile that even being on her feet and obviously several months pregnant didn’t erase. She cared for the woman with kindness. ‘How can someone having so little be so giving to a stranger?’ she wondered. Then she remembered Mike. When she had finished her meal, she paid with a hundred-dollar bill. The waitress went to get change but when she came back, both the old lady and her car were gone. That’s when she noticed something written on the napkin: ‘You don’t owe me anything, dear. If you want to pay me back please don’t let this chain of love end with you.’ Under the napkin were four more $100 bills. The waitress was exhausted when she got home from work and climbed into bed next to her sleeping husband. She wondered—with the baby due next month, how could that lady have seen how much they needed this money? She knew her husband had been worried, so, as he lay sleeping she gave him a soft kiss and whispered, “I love you, Mike Johnson!”

"Grow to your Fullest" by Ling Qin Zhang

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