One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His ambassador was still sputtering when he approached her.
Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Arun Tyagi.”
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Arun crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.
As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him where she was from and how she was returning from visiting her brother in the old age home when her car broke down. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Arun just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Arun never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.
He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Arun added, “And think of me.”
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over & welcomed her with a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase and gently enquired how she could serve her. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. She ordered for a cup of warm milk as she remembered her benefactor ‘Arun Tyagi.’
After the lady finished her drink, she paid with a five hundred rupee note. The waitress quickly went to get change for her note, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.
There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.” Under the napkin were five Rs 1000 notes.
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard…
She knew how worried her husband ‘Arun Tyagi’ was, who drove a taxi all day to make a living and as he lay sleeping next to her, she smiled looking at him deep in sleep and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. Let us be grateful to God”
Radhanath Swami discusses in one of his discourses that people are suffering in this world, and we are suffering too. So, what are we going to do for the others? We have to have something to give something. If we want to give people happiness, we have to have happiness within. If we are miserable and depressed and despondent, what can we do for anyone else? So when we actually find that inner joy, that inner peace, that inner love – of God, of the beauty of the soul, and see that potential in others, then even in the greatest suffering, we can have compassion for the suffering of others and we’re happy to serve them. You feel for them, and you want to give them the joy that you have. That is real compassion. Selfless service is the gateway to experiencing pure love.