How to Rescue People with a Keyboard

Comments 17


He was driving a little faster than usual—in a rush to pick up his children from school.

The school fines you if you don’t get there before a certain time.

Traffic was slowing him down.

Tick, tick, tick.

He had gotten stuck at the office. A meeting had run longer than scheduled.

God. I do not want to pay this stupid fine again, he thought.

He spotted an elderly woman walking down the sidewalk. She was visibly upset. Confused. Frightened.

She needed help.

He kept driving.

The kids were waiting. The clock was ticking.

The Power of the Pen

Not that anyone writes with pens anymore. But the phrase is relevant just the same.

It means words can be powerful.

Wars have started and ended because of words.

Religions have started and ended because of words.

Human relationships often start and end because of them.

As long as truth and authenticity lives in the words, they can move us to action. And to change—positively or negatively.

Do you struggle with money? Are you a slave to debt?

Read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Might change your life. Even if it doesn’t, it will give you tips that will improve your life, no matter how much or how little money you earn.

Do you struggle in your marriage? Trying to understand why you and your spouse have the SAME fights over and over and over again?

It’s not just you! It’s all of us. We all have the same fights over and over and over again.

Read How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny. It will help you crack the code.

Do you struggle with self-confidence? Happiness? Satisfaction with your life and career? Do you wonder why you keep getting older but never seem to find what you’re looking for?

Read James Altucher’s Choose Yourself. I’ll stop short of saying this man changed my life. But, he’s done something close to that.

When you pour your heart and soul into the words you write, sometimes there is someone out there with whom the words resonate.

They penetrate their minds. Their hearts. Their souls.

And then shit starts to happen.

Good shit.

A Note From that Busy Dad Rushing to Pick Up the Kids

The dad sent me an email.

“The other day I was going to be late picking up the kids. Interview ran late. I was rushing to get there before we got a late pickup fine at school.

“I drove by an old lady walking down the street on the way home and she was visibly upset while she was walking. Something was off. She looked confused and scared.

“I kept driving. I had kids to pick up and a late fee to avoid, right?!?

“Then I thought about some things I have read in your blog lately. About striving to be the people we want to be. About making the right decision, even when it’s difficult or we could take the easy way out. About doing things for others and volunteering for no reason whatsoever without expecting anything in return. About doing the right thing.

“I immediately slammed on the brakes and did a U-turn before going over the bridge. I went back, found her and pulled over. Her car had broke down on a side street. Her husband was out of town. She was older and seemed totally lost. Maybe even dementia-like. She accepted a ride back to my office. We called her a tow truck and I let her wait in our office. I called a police officer I know who was on duty to hang out with her so I could go get the kids. She was in tears when she thanked me and hugged me.

“I got that late fee. I paid for it in cash when I walked in the school door before I grabbed the kids. I did so with a smile on my face. Helping that lady was the right thing to do and it made me feel good. Dinner was late for the kids that night. The schedule was off and they were hungry and pissed by the time their mom got home. I was poorer. But I felt richer for having done what I did that late afternoon last week. 

“And your blog’s responsible for that action. Thank you.”

This is how we’re going to win, ladies and gentlemen.

One little slice of good at a time.

Walk the walk. Try hard. Say you’re sorry when you screw up.

Try harder the next day.

Talk about it. Write about it.

And once in a while, the right person with a heart of gold like this particular busy father will be moved to action.

And then maybe one lost, lonely, frightened, helpless soul will get the help she needs.

And then good spreads.

“So. Matt. You’re saying you just sit around typing words on the computer?”

Well, that’s one way to put it.

What’s another way to put it?”

I make shit happen.

Good shit.

17 thoughts on “How to Rescue People with a Keyboard”

  1. Amazing story. The details from the dad’s email brought a tear to my eye. I have a soft spot in my heart for the elderly. I don’t think we do enough in this country to care for them. I’m thankful your words inspired that dad to take action. I’m thankful for your blog…you are making a difference one word at a time. I’m proud to be a fellow writer. As you said, words are powerful and we have dedicated our lives to putting them together in meaningful ways. It’s a noble (albeit underpaid) profession. Keep up the great work, my friend!

    1. Thank you. I worry a little bit about sounding like I’m trying to take credit for this man’s good deed.

      I’m glad you didn’t take it that way.

      Thank you for saying hi, miss.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I’m thankful for this person and that he took time to do this, and then was kind enough to try to give me credit for all of his kindness and generosity.

      Thank you for for reading and this note.

  2. So glad you shared this, Matt. I believe there is enormous potential for good in our bloggy world. Most often, we have no idea how our words and deeds affect others. But be assured that they DO affect others, and in a chain reaching farther than one might imagine. Thanks for an inspiring post.

  3. What an amazing story. I am so thankful for people who do things like that– My grandmother has dementia and I simply CANNOT imagine her in this situation 🙁 It can feel a little awkward to break through norms or get awkward by offering to help someone but it is so worth it when you’re actually able to make a difference. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you! It was incredibly flattering to be given credit for someone else’s good work.

      My “I make shit happen,” line was mostly tongue-in-cheek. I think it’s important to be mindful of how influential some words can be and accept responsibility for them.

      But, as for doing good deeds? That’s done by getting your hands dirty and helping people. Not safely sitting at the keyboard. I need to get back to helping more people with my time and effort.

      It’s a soul-cleansing thing to do.

  4. Never underestimate the power of the written (or in your case typed) word. Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places at times. Kudos to the dad who stopped for that lady, for all he did to assist her, kudos to the police officer for staying with her. And a pat on the back to you, sir; please, type away and continue to let it flow…who knows what you will inspire next!

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