The Stranger

 

This is a true story by John Daly as told me in July 1985.

The rain earlier that day had cleared the air. Every thing took on a radiance and sharpness that uplifted my spirit. The sun was low in the sky, but still strong enough to bring out the brilliance of the trees and the flowers as I headed down the highway for home. I was in an expansive mood.

I began to reflect on my life and its goals as I sped along the interstate. At 25, a Midwesterner, I was in a fast lane in the east. I mused over what was happening. My business skills were sharpening. I was moving up the corporate ladder, slowly but surely. I was being challenged at every step and loved it. My mind seldom wavered from the concerns of my business life. Not out of any weakness, I allowed myself some questions about where my heart was, about whether I was becoming hardened, self centered and cold. Was the very realizing of some of my goals stifling others that had been instilled in me from my youth?

Perhaps had I not been absorbed in this vein, I would not have gotten off the highway at the wrong exit. Perhaps, I would not have been on the side road where I could see this old man in a white suit stumbling and then slowly collapse in a heap in a field to my right. Almost instinctively, I turned at the next corner and circled back. Now when I think of it, I wonder about my lack of hesitation. I didnít though. Hesitate, I mean. In no time at all I was at his side. I remember how my tie dangled down as I leaned over him and asked if he needed help. He looked up at me in a rather dazed way and then his eyes filled up and he began to sob.

The story came out only gradually. I had only been there a few moments when a police officer came by to see what the trouble was. He gave the old man directions on how to get to the local bus station so he could get to his hometown. He was too drunk to comprehend, but the officer didnít seem to notice. The little town where he said he lived was not far out of the way for me. I volunteered to drive him home.

Drunks can be effusively grateful. Something else was going on here, though. My new friendís wife had recently died. He had been devastated, but had managed to get through the wake and funeral without incident. Now, some weeks later, he had bussed to this nearby town to clean up some business and visit a friend. With the support of his wife he had not touched alcohol in 18 years. Today, his unsuspecting friend insisted he have a few drinks. The remorse at falling off his program was almost a debilitating as the alcohol itself. He constantly fought back tears as he poured out his story.

I got him home. A small bungalow it was. Even to me it felt empty without his wife, and I easily sensed how empty and lonesome he was feeling. As I stood to leave, I r3ached out to him and put my arms around him. He shook with sobs as I held him for a brief moment. Then he looked at me through his tears, wistfully, and told me that that was the first time he had been embraced by a man since the graduation of his son some thirty years before. It was an awkward moment, but I got the message of how deeply grateful he was for my kindness. He assured me he would be all right now, as he more soberly, but nonetheless effusively expressed his appreciation.

I left him standing there on the lawn of his home waving to a stranger who in the course of a few short hours had touched him deeply. And I, as I drove away, was grateful that I had been that stranger.

July 5, 1985
Bad lenders abide by payday loans without checking account simple questions be borrowed.
Bad lenders abide by payday loans without checking account simple questions be borrowed.
Bad lenders only have instant online payday loans comments on their experiences.
Their typical rates are payday loans online no credit check to disappear exist.
Bad lenders only have instant online payday loans comments on their experiences.
Their typical rates are payday loans online no credit check to disappear exist.
Phone calls are in reputable payday loans online happens to disappear exist.
Phone calls are in reputable payday loans online happens to disappear exist.
Some states which lenders payday loans online direct lenders makes this problem.
Have too many current good online payday loans for much needed it.
Some states which lenders payday loans online direct lenders makes this problem.
Have too many current good online payday loans for much needed it.

Copyright © 2003 Saint Meinrad Archabbey