Have you ever had one of “those days”? The type of day where the world seems to be conspiring against you. Where everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and you feel like a failure. You feel like throwing in the towel, giving up and giving in.
Recently, Tammy Nelson had one of those days. According to TKVU journalist Frank Sommerville, who shared a message she wrote him on Facebook Wednesday, the mother of four had been struggling as of late — and particularly so since the departure of her ex. But earlier this week, Nelson’s difficulties came to a head when her car battery died, leaving the young mom and her children stranded in a Winn Dixie parking lot. To make matters worse, Nelson’s phone was disconnected, she had no family nearby whom she could ask for help, and it was raining. Or as she describes it, it was “POURING rain.” After asking more than 20 strangers for assistance, for more than two hours, Nelson broke down.
“My 5-year-old was melting down,” she wrote. “My newborn [was] SCREAMING, my 2-year-old [was] crying she was hungry, and my oldest [was] desperately trying to help. I was bawling and felt like the worst mom ever.”
But that’s when something amazing happened. That’s when one person’s simple gesture restored Nelson’s faith in humanity, and in herself. Because just then, someone approached Nelson’s car — an “older gentleman … with a cane and a bad limp.” And he knocked on Nelson’s passenger side window.
“I opened the door,” she continued. “He handed me a plate of chicken strips and biscuits from the deli and bottles of water. ‘Feed those babies and your self young lady. I have a tow truck on the way and my wife will be here shortly to take y’all home.’”
And the unnamed 74-year-old man was a man of his word.
“Sure enough she arrived followed by the tow truck. Us and our truck was taken home.”
The old man returned to Nelson’s home the next morning with a mechanic. Before long, Nelson’s truck was fixed; however, the mechanic didn’t simply replace her battery, he also repaired her alternator and her driver’s side window. The old man then left, and when Nelson approached the mechanic about the cost of the repairs, she learned the 74-year-old had had given her even more than she initially realized.
“When I asked what I owed the mechanic and if I could make payments he smiled telling me the older man had paid for all of it,” she wrote. “He said that the only payment the older man wanted was for me to never give up and [to] keep being an amazing mom.”
And at those words, Nelson was reduced to tears. Not only had this man given her his money, his help, and his time, but he had given her hope.
In one of her darkest moments, a complete stranger brought her light.
“Without knowing us or our situation this kind man helped us in ways he will never know,” she continued. “What he did revived my faith [in myself] when I was falling apart … [and] I’’ll never be able to thank him.”
However, Nelson does hope she can pay it forward: “I certainly hope one day I can do what he did for me for someone else,” she shared.
And that is — perhaps — the greatest thank you of all.