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My $45 lesson

Most people that know me say that I am a giving and caring person. That is my personality and also the way that I was raised by my parents. As the bible says in

Matthew 7:12 (NIV), “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Also, Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV), “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

And finally, like the Bible says in so many places, it is better to give than to receive. We all grew up hearing and learning these passages/verses. That is the way that I have always tried to live my life to the best of my abilities…no matter what. It is not about me, but what I can do for others.

Sometimes, this gets me in to trouble in overloading my plate, but the reward is ALWAYS much greater than anything that I have ever gone through or could possibly go through in the process as a result of my efforts.

The other evening, I received a phone call from David Specht, Specht Newspapers owner and President, asking me if I was still at the office. I replied “yes,” and asked what I needed to do to be of assistance. David said that he was at church getting ready for their Wednesday night service and a gentleman had just called the church saying that he was stranded at the Mobil station at I-20 and Airline Drive near the mall. Furthermore, David explained to me that the gentleman was from Monroe and was passing through Bossier City on his way to Canton, Texas for the monthly First Monday Trade Days weekend event. The man has a permanent booth to sell his goods in Canton. When passing through Bossier City on his way to Canton, his van began experiencing transmission trouble.

After a few other defining facts, David said that the man sounded totally legitimate and on the level. Finally, David asked me if I would be in a position to run up and check on the man and to see if I could be of any assistance. As always, I replied “sure!”

David made sure that I was ok with doing this and also asked that once I arrived on the scene, to examine the situation from afar. If I felt anything of a suspicious nature going on in any way, just leave the scene. I did just this and upon examination, determined that everything looked to be ok. So, I went up and introduced myself to the gentleman and explained why I was there.

Upon introducing himself, the man said that he had been able to contact some friends from Springhill and they were going to loan him their van. I noticed they were in the process transferring all of the cargo from one van to another so that he could go on to Canton. At this point, I realized that there was really nothing for me to do there. So, I talked a little more, handed him my business card and asked him to contact me if there was anything else that I could do…..really never expecting to hear anything from him ever again.

Upon leaving the scene (by this time, well after 7 pm), I met some friends for dinner and arrived home around 10 pm. As I was pulling in to my carport, I was thinking of how tired I was from the many activities of a long day. Just as I turned off the car’s ignition, my cell phone rang. I thought that I recognized the phone number from caller id. Do I just not answer and let it go? For me, no way! It was in fact the same gentleman that I had met a few hours earlier and he asked if I would be willing to trustingly lend him some money so that he could put gas in the borrowed van in order to make it on to Canton.

I thought about what to do for a split second and then arranged a meeting spot. I put $45 worth of gas in the vehicle and wished him luck on both his journey and booth sales over the weekend. As we were parting, we arranged for a meeting spot for him to pay me back the borrowed amount as he was passing back through on his way home Sunday evening.

Even though I completely trusted him at his word, I still left thinking that I would never hear from him again. Whatever the case, either way, regardless of the outcome, I still felt very good about being able to help someone that was in need.

As Sunday evening approached, even though I had his cell phone number and contact information, I told myself that I was going to trust his word and wait on him to call me as promised. I would only call after it became obvious that I was not going to hear from him.

I kept telling myself that losing the $45 would not be what disappointed me most. For me, the most disappointing thing would be for someone that I trusted to not live up to their word. I take those types of disappointments really hard.

It has happened to all of us many times. That’s life…..it happens, but I still don’t deal with it very well….never have…never will!

As the story turns out, my cell phone did in fact ring just a little 6 pm on Sunday evening.

The gentleman on the phone said something like “I said I would call and here I am.”

Let’s confirm our meeting location so that I can give you your money back?

My feel good meter peaked at 1,000…bounced back to 500 on the rebound…and then broke my meter guage by going over 1,000%!! I showed up at the agreed upon location and upon getting out of my car and shaking hands with the man, I was handed what looked to be two $20 bills. I just assumed that there was also $5 stuck somewhere in the middle to make up my $45. Honestly, I did not look or really even care at that point.

We exchanged some final parting words, the gentleman said that I if I was ever passing through Monroe and did not give him a call, he would be highly offended. I said “ok” and that was it, we left. When I got home, I was putting the money in my wallet and much to my surprise I found three $20 bills…$15 more than I had loaned.

I was not expecting this and for just a moment, I thought about somehow returning the $15. However, on second thought, I decided that I did not want to risk offending the kind gentleman.

Unfortunately, we all have to be most careful and suspiciously “on guard” these days when we are doing anything to help someone that we don’t know. This is a real shame and not at all the way it is supposed to be.

As such, it gives me both a great feeling and restores my good natured faith in humanity to know that there are still people out there that live up to their word and do what they say they will do!

A job well done, my new friend!


Randy Brown is the Advertising Manager for the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com

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