My faith in humanity has been restored. If you are curious about what kindness, thoughtfulness and love for another human being looks like, here’s a visual:
We had a friend visiting from abroad and part of the itinerary I scheduled for her was a long weekend in Sequoia National Park. We were lodged somewhere in between the King’s National Park and Sequoia National Park, so we spent Saturday in the first park, and Sunday in the latter. We hiked ascending trails, we walked along meadows, we played in a creek. Lots of fun was had. We, being my girlfriend, Copiloo and I. Hubbyloo was swamped at work…
The incident that blew our mind (in the most positive way possible) took place on Saturday afternoon. We were looking for an appropriate hike to do on a hot, sunny day, while I was carrying a 25+ pounder. We decided to do two or three short hikes, one of which was Sheep Creek Cascade (the characteristics of this trail that made us go for it: moderately strenuous, but short, and the word “shady” used in its description). The estimated round-trip time was 1.5 hrs. It’s very likely that we power-walked and reached the creek cascade after 20, maaaaybe 25 minutes, but the sight was barely something to stop for, so we continued up not knowing we’d in fact reached our objective.
Fortyfive minutes later, about two miles up Don Cecil Trail, I was panting like a dog, looking for shade to take a break every four minutes or so, my friend who was walking behind me was starting to feel her hernia act up, and Copiloo had no worry in the world as he was prodding me to walk and walk faster. Remember the shady trail we were expecting? It didn’t really work out for us, as it appears that relatively recently there had been a fire in that forest, so all the trees were burnt, offering hardly any shade whatsoever (see the pic above). Stubborn as we both were, we refused to give up and go back, fearing that the next switchback would actually open up to an awesome view, or bring us to the cascade (which we still argued had to be ahead of us). One hour into our ascending hike we said we’d give this experience 15 more minutes; then we’d turn around and call it a day. That’s about when I thought I was witnessing a Fata Morgana mirage. I kid you not. Under a scorching sun, in what must have been 85+ degrees temps, fighting with all my might the heaviness of the baby carrier, I see the silhouettes of two men coming down the trail. I was barely able to talk and I managed to beg my friend to make sure those people do not pass us without telling us how much longer before we reach something truly amazing that would make our effort worth while. This girl started laughing hysterically because, as I later found out, I was quite a sight – out of breath, trying to talk as fast as I could, attempting to flail my arms but always giving up and resting them on my knees… We found out that we still had at least a mile to ascend, plus a few fallen trees to climb, and the last couple hundred feet of the trail to make it to the top of the top would require us to climb some rocks. The two guys, both in their early 30s if I had to guess, asked how we were doing, whether we had water or needed anything, and kindly suggested that it would probably be better if we made a 180. Which we did. Had a brief convo with them, “Bye” – “Bye”, and off they went running down the hill. We followed at a slower pace obviously, happy to now know where we were headed and how much before we could sit our butts down and take the load off.
Fortyfive minutes later, I see one of the guys running up the hill. The thought that crossed my mind was “Poor guy… he must have lost something on the trail, look at him running back in such a hurry!” I would have continued feeling pity for him if he didn’t stop me in my tracks:
“Hi! I brought you girls some water and something for the li’l guy!”
We, the girls, not so much the li’l guy, were in awe. We kinda looked at each other for a few seconds, before we started screaming and rambling about how unbelievable and surreal this is, we asked him if he was okay (I mean… what normal person would do such a random act of kindness?), and he simply said:
“Hey, I’m from Texas. When we see women in distress, we help them out!” He waved at us, let us know we were a mile away from the trail head, and off he went running down the hill!
How unbelievable is this? My friend and I talked about this for the next couple of weeks, until she left, but we will definitely remember this guy for years and years to come. Life is soaked up in so many bad experiences, sad events, disappointing relationships, painful encounters, selfish stories, that when a good-hearted guy goes out of his way to make a right, you end up speechless, jaw to the floor, or in our case, trail. How wonderful life would be, if we’d all remember to sprinkle a little love on our neighbor. I sure will pay it forward, not once, not twice, but as many times as I possible can. I learned it can make one really happy.
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Now, mind you. You do not have to be a guy, or in tip-top shape to run a mile-up a mountain after having hiked for four hours, you do not need to afford to buy water and gummy bears either, in order to be kind. You simply have to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, visualize their situation, wonder whether it could be improved, and go the extra (.01 of a) mile (pun intended in this case) to make a difference. You in?