What on earth? Is that a person? Yes. I'm pretty sure. Is she...flapping her arms? In the middle of the road? What is going on? Break lights. A car on the side of the road. Is that a kid hanging out the window? What is she doing? Doesn't she realize what a busy road this is? 55 miles per hour isn't going to stop quickly, no matter how much you flap your arms woman! Sometimes I honestly think people are crazy...oh, wait...what? Is that...a horse? No. Correction. That's three horses. Ok, maybe those are technically ponies, but yes, there they are, in the middle of the road, in the ditch, trotting wherever they please. What is going on here?!
I was driving home after an impromptu family dinner at the local pizza place tonight (my daughter's idea - and a good one too!) and I was feeling pretty content. My day in the classroom left me somewhat discouraged, but dinner with my own children had lightened my mood. I was feeling pretty good as I sang along with the radio, windows down, enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. That's when I saw this odd spectacle. It's just not every day that you see a woman, in the middle of a busy road, flapping her arms! I realize she was trying to get the car in front of me to stop but let's keep in mind that this road is BUSY and traffic was humming right along - probably a bit faster than the posted 55 mph signs would encourage. For a minute all I can see is a vehicle on the side of the road, parked haphazardly nearish to a driveway, with a young child half hanging out the side window and a woman standing in the center of the road flapping her arms, and breaklights on the car in front of me, which was rapidly slowing down.
That's about the time that I saw first one pony, then three ponies. They were obviously skittish and out of sorts. Once the woman was satisfied that the cars were stopping on the road, she moved to the side and tried to encourage the ponies to stay away from the road. Keep in mind that I travel this stretch of road twice daily and never have I seen horses near the road. There are often horses in a field that is way off the road, but they are never anywhere close. And I've never noticed these particular ponies among that group either, so it was an all-around surprising scene.
Apparently, the woman was about 2 minutes ahead of me, saw that the horses had gotten out and stopped her car to help. She left her small child sitting on the side of the road, hanging out the window in order to see, and she was trying her best to corral the ponies. About this time, a truck came flying in from the opposite direction. He whipped off the road and jumped out of his truck, quite possibly before he even had it in park. I'm guessing the 3 ponies belonged to him.
As I drove away, I had several thoughts competing for my attention all at once.
"Thank God I didn't get there right before the crazy arm-flapping lady! I could have easily hit one of the ponies with two of my babies in the backseat."
"That woman must actually be crazy to leave her car parked that way with her small child hanging out the window while she stood in the middle of the road."
"I wonder what I would have done if I had been there first?"
"I'm certain I would not have gotten out of my vehicle and left my children on the side of the road. I'm even more certain I would not have attempted to stop traffic on that busy road by standing in the middle and flapping my arms. There are other ways."
"It's pretty amazing that someone who was willing to stop the car and stand in the middle of the road to stop traffic happened to drive that stretch of road at just the right moment to help. And did."
"It's a blessing that the child didn't fall out of the window or end up in the middle of the road too! And equally amazing, noone got hurt - not the woman, the child or the horses - by someone trying to avoid the woman in the middle of the road and the ponies running around."
"Here is a prime example of someone being kind and caring to others. The ponies didn't belong to this woman. She stopped anyway. She went above the call of duty and made a difference in someone's day."
"I just witnessed an act of kindness. It's time to pay it forward."
Ok, I can take a hint. First, Ruth inspired me with her challenge to go make a difference through teaching. Next, Linda inspired me with her call to be an ally for others and make a difference in a child's life. Then, Betsy inspired me with her message of choosing happiness.
I am challenging myself tomorrow to make a difference. Even if it's something small, something meaningful to one person. Anything. Just make a difference. Inspire someone. Notice an act of kindness and pay it forward. I'll let you know how it works out for me. I hope you will come back and let me know how it worked out for you as well.
Until then...choose happiness and make a difference.