A few days ago I was running some errands with my kids in the car. Mostly local things, so I was driving mostly along small side streets. As we were driving, I saw a woman with a walker begin to get into her car, and was slowly beginning the process of maneuvering herself from her walker-supported stance into her car.

Now, I’m an adult who’s been on this Earth for a few decades, so I know a thing or two. I quickly surmised that this woman definitely did not need anyone’s help – she was in her own driveway and clearly not in distress. She clearly had a system and had done this before. She was moving slowly but methodically. In no way did she need me to come to her rescue.

But I had my kids in the car, and I try not to miss these opportunities.

I pulled over and gave her a quick hello, asking her if I could be of any help or if I could hold anything for her to make it easier. I was slightly worried that she’d view my offer as condescending, but far from it – she was delighted that a stranger would offer aid even though she politely declined. We chatted for a moment and then I was on my way.

When I got back in the car, my kids had stars in their eyes.

That’s all I wanted. You can tell kids all you want that you should always help others, that you should in fact go out of your way to help others, but if you don’t live it they won’t. It’s often easy to say “yes” to obvious requests for help, but harder to train yourself to look for ways to help when you aren’t asked. But the latter are the more worthy – people don’t always know how to ask.

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