Editor's Viewpoint: Wintertime karma strikesCan it be that karma really exists — even at a suburban gas station? Maybe. Just maybe.
Can it be that karma really exists — even at a suburban gas station? Maybe. Just maybe.
I’m sitting in my truck getting ready to hop out and fuel up when I get on a knock on my passenger door. It’s a stranger. The guy asks if I can help jump his SUV. Sure thing, I say. Minnesotans do these kinds of things instinctively in the winter. Must have something to do with shared agony we all endure during these months. We know that we could be next, so we darn well better help push that poor soul’s car out of the snow bank when we see it.
And so it goes.
I spin over, pop my hood and clamp on the jumper cables. We get his rig fired up after two turns of his key. He’s profoundly thankful because he had to push the blasted thing up a hill to reach the gas station after it ran out of fuel. It doesn’t take much thinking to imagine the frustration he was feeling after the situation was compounded by a dead car battery.
We shake hands, he takes off and I go back to fuel up. I head into the station to pay, already thinking of what I need to accomplish over the weekend and what time I needed to leave to make a basketball game I was covering later that night in Roseville.
Then the gas station clerk managed to surprise me. After I pay, he hands me a slip for a free car wash. Says he saw me give the guy a jump – I had already forgotten about it – and thought he’d pay it forward. My first instinct told me the clerk saw my salt-stained truck and found an excuse to take mercy on me. But the chap’s easy manner and sincerity led me to believe otherwise.
I’m not going to say where this happened. The last thing I want is for this guy’s boss to take it out of his check, or worse. The clerk’s deed deserves thanks, not reprimand.
I suppose if there’s a point here, it’s that even in this busy world where we find ourselves more isolated or numb to our surroundings as we stare endlessly at our cellphones, the Golden Rule is alive and well. Even at gas stations.