An Unexpected Paying It Forward Event.
It was indeed an unexpected paying it forward event and one that has given me website post 'to boot' You see, I've already written this post once, got to about 600 words and realised that it was just getting to long, I was starting to waffle and philosophise. Good for the site, not good for here. The story itself can stand on its own to feet. Less is more.
That said, part of my rambling had to do with character traits and how they can appear from nowhere and you have to appraise them to see if they are actually flaws, or just blips that we can do something about. Anyway, here's how it went and I will try to be succinct. As if.
'Jess' the XJS is up for sale. If, she sells then that will be a huge helping hand towards the next project. If not, then that's alright too. I'm easy either way. Yesterday I had a message come through the listing. Here's what it said:
"Hi, I have a bit of an emergency! I have driven my 1978 pre-HE up to near you for a photo shoot but the left rear lens cover has fallen off. The photographer and journalist are literally waiting around as we try to source a replacement. Would you be willing to sell/lend/rent me yours (even if only for a few hours!)"
They left their mobile number for me to make contact. I am ashamed to say that my first reaction was one of cynicism. I thought it had to be a scam to get my mobile number. Then I would be inundated with calls about using some service to sell my car. Canvassing at it best.
My initial reaction took me aback. Why so cynical ? It could be totally genuine. Then I cut myself some slack and thought that 'wary' was a better word to use and that if I trod carefully then the situation could be managed better. I'll play along but make sure I'm covered, I mean they could come and get the lens and never bring it back, there's that cynical side coming back...no, wary, cautious. Here's my reply:
"My rear passenger lens has a chunk missing, if you check to photo's you'll see it. You're welcome to use it, if its suitable and fits. Just need to have you leave a deposit, if that's acceptable. Obviously you'll get it back when the lens comes back."
I thought that was fair enough. I added my mobile number, trust was working its way back in. Within a minute my phone rang. We chatted briefly and I gave my address. I removed the lens and within half an hour he had arrived. At the door he was in the process of taking his watch off, to leave with me. I stopped him and said it wasn't necessary, another brick in the wall of tust I was trying to rebuild, trying to restore my own sense of 'right'. He also borrowed a bucket and sponge. Lens fitted he went on his merry way.
About four hours later, he returned and before he'd knocked the door, had fitted the lens back on my car. He told me the story of his XJS and that the previous owner was the journalist and the article would be going in a national automobile magazine (reputedly the oldest running of its type) He then offered me some cash for the deed, which, of course, I refused and he went on his way.
By the end of it all, I felt like I had redeemed myself. It would have been very easy in the first instance to just ignore the message. We may have a propensity to be a certain way, act in a certain manner, these can be loosely described as our character traits. Going against popular belief, they are not hardwired.
Other times, as in this case, we react in a way that surprises us. This doesn't mean that is who we are, just who we happened to be at that precise moment. Being able to realise this and adjust accordingly is more a reflection of who you actually are.
Unfortunately being cynical, wary and cautious can seem to be prerequisites in the art of survival in todays world. It is down to us to decide how much of these we need to use, to navigate through life. Sometimes you do have to take a leap of faith and hope that you will not be disappointed.