A Stranger in the Rain: The Power of One Man’s Simple Kindness

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway, enduring a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she was in desperate need of a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

After a few minutes, someone pulled over. Approaching the car, however, she noticed it was a young white man– something generally unheard of in the conflict-filled 1960s. Regardless, he was very kind, driving her to a diner down the road and calling her a cab, as well as a tow truck for her car.

She seemed quite distraught, saying repeatedly that her husband was extremely sick and that she needed to be with him. Before she left, she wrote down her helper’s address and thanked him profusely.

Seven days passed, and the young man had nearly forgotten the encounter, when a knock came at his door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV had been delivered to his home. Examining it, he found a note attached that read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me, and unselfishly serving others.”

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Source: This long-circulating internet anecdote is an urban legend, and has been factually debunked. Regardless, it stands as touching example of the power of extending kindness to those in need, and the importance of intention.  

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