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My Best Birthday Ever

I’m 41 today. Thank you all ahead of time for your birthday wishes. Chances are you’re reading this and I’m out waist deep in a river right now fishing for big trout. The power of wordpress scheduling.

I wanted to post today a recap of what happened to me last year on my birthday. I posted it on Facebook, but didn’t blog it for some reason and I think it needs to be shared. So here’s what happened last year.

I needed to run down to the local convenience store to pick up some ice and other assorted things. I arrived at the store and bought my items. But when I was walking out of the store, an older lady (probably in her 70′s) was asking the store clerk if he could give her a ride back home. She looked very confused.

The store clerk had to tell her that he couldn’t leave the store. He looked annoyed at this old crazy lady bugging him. The lady was confused. She was saying that her husband was supposed to come and pick her up but he must have forgotten. She had walked to the store she said, and now she had three big bags of things to carry home, but her husband wasn’t there. She needed a ride. Oh, and she didn’t know where she lived exactly.

I chatted with her for a minute in the store and tried to determine what was going on. Was she just crazy? Was she some kind of wacko? Or maybe, just maybe, she was just an older lady with some mental issues who needed some help? She obviously had gotten to the store on her own, so she must live close. The pizza place that I worked for and delivered 20-years ago in high school was right next door, and I grew up in this neighborhood, so I knew where I was going and I was pretty sure I could find her house, I hoped.

I grabbed her bags and told her I’d take her home and we’d find her house. She was very happy. I got her into my SUV and put her bags in the back and we pulled out of the store lot. She pointed me West, up the hill on Hillside Road. I drove slow, and she looked out the window trying to find her house.

As I drove, we chatted. I asked her if she knew my parents, she didn’t. I asked her what color her house was, she didn’t know. I asked her how far it was, she didn’t know. Then in nervous chatter I told her it was my birthday.

Just then she let out a big “happy birthday!” And then, she started to sing to me in my car. She proceeded to sing very nicely the most beautiful happy birthday song I had ever heard. I almost wanted to clap when she was done it was that good. The only thing I could keep thinking to myself was that what a wonderful person this is and how I was lucky to have run into her and help her.

I thanked her for the song and we kept driving and looking. In another half mile up the street she blurted out “that’s it, on the right!” I pulled into her driveway, or at least I hoped it was her driveway, and I got out and started to get her bags.

Just then her husband, who was also an older gentleman came walking to the car. The lady got out and started speaking to him. I stood there with her bags in hand as she explained to the man that I had given her a ride back from the store. He seemed confused as well, but very grateful. He took the bags and shook my hand and thanked me. She did the same and again told me happy birthday. Then she went into the house.

The man was so happy that his wife was home safe. I told him I was heading home to my family to make dinner and that we were having an outdoor fire and smores with the kids. He then motioned to the large stack of wood under the nearest pine tree and said I could take all that I could carry for my fire. At first I refused, but he insisted. So I gladly loaded a few logs into the back of my car and thanked him for the wood and left.

On the way home I noticed I had a huge smile on my face. It wasn’t that I was proud of myself for helping someone in need. But rather, how lucky I was to have the opportunity to actually help someone who needed my help. Damn that felt good. But also, and more importantly, I was reminded of how lucky I was to have a family and everything that I was blessed to have in my life.

Best birthday ever.

Here’s my request to you today. Go out of your way to help someone who needs it. Do it in your own way, at any level you want, but just do something. Thanks for letting me share my best birthday ever.

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4 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Lisa Rangel
    September 24, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Beautiful story. More meaningful since you are reflecting on its impact on you one year later. Wonderful directive at the end….thank you for sharing this experience.

  2. Chris Brogan...
    September 24, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Absolutely wonderful story, Jim. Wishing you the best and for many a delicious trout to be caught.

  3. @FranchiseKing
    September 24, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Cool.

    If more of us got out of our comfort zones, and took little risks like you did, our world would be a better place.

    Happy Birthday!

    Joel and family :)

  4. throlson
    September 24, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Jim, hope you catch some amazing trout and have another moment just like you did with that woman you drove home. Good deeds like that is what makes you stand out from all the other entrepreneurs in the room your a true family man and have kind heart. Your not in it for the money your in it for the experience.