I have not done one of these personal stories for a long time. In fact, it has been about six years since I did one. The last one was Miss Taylor - Her Story. They didn't get many reader hits and I discontinued doing them. As I am in the winding down stage on this blog (more on that in a future post), I figure it is time to do one more, albeit a brief post. The following is based on a gentleman I met one day when his car was broke down on a county road back in March of 2010. I called a wrecker for him and waited with him at his car. I felt sorry for Mr. Collins. He was down on his luck and had little in the way of money. He had no family living nearby and didn't know many people at the time. So, I did something that most have found unfathomable, I paid for his wrecker service. He needed a new alternator. I paid half and he paid half to have it replaced. He never forgot my kindness to him.
I saw Mr. Collins occasionally at the local Lowe's in my area. He would call me to check on me and I would call him. He always told me, if there was anything he could do for me, he would do it. He meant it also. But, Mr. Collins did not have much in the material sense. He was a kind, elderly man. It was enough for me that he would just stay in touch to let me know how he was doing. Mr. Collins would have me over on occasion to eat breakfast with him. I enjoyed our talks in the early morning as we both were early birds. This went on up until about the summer of 2012. We just kind of drifted apart. Our calls and contacts became more and more less frequent. I had called Mr. Collins early this summer. I went by his house to check on him. His house was boarded up. I assumed he just up and moved away. But, I did not believe he would leave without at least saying goodbye. It just didn't make sense.
I was checking my voice mail on my cell last Friday. I had been taking a shower and missed three calls. One was a sales pitch for aluminum siding for my house, one was from my brother wanting me to come eat dinner with him and another was from an attorney with whom I was not familiar. He said I needed to call him over a legal matter. Thinking I might be involved in a lawsuit, I immediately called. I was put on hold for several minutes and was about to hang up when the lawyer came on and apologized for taking so long. He first asked me if I knew Mr. Collins. I told him I did, but had not heard from him for at least a year. The lawyer informed me Mr. Collins had passed away from a stroke he had at a nursing home. I had no idea he had been placed in a nursing home. I was told Mr. Collins only had two surviving relatives and he left them some family heirlooms he wanted them to keep for him. But, Mr. Collins had also left me something and I needed to come to his office to claim it.
The lawyer said he couldn't tell me over the phone what it was I had been left by Mr. Collins. I went to his office Saturday morning. The lawyer said Mr. Collins had left me everything he had in his bank account, minus the attorney fee which this amazing attorney decided to waive in Mr. Collins honor. I had been left $57.12. $57.12 was all Mr. Collins had left to his name. Now, I realize that doesn't sound like much to you. But, it meant everything to Mr. Collins and to me. It meant something to that lawyer as he became emotional at 9AM Saturday morning. You see, while that was a small amount of money to most people, it was everything Mr. Collins had. He gave all he had left in the world for a simple kindness I did for him years ago when he needed someone, anyone, to help him out.
I walked out of that attorney's office shaken and a bit remorseful as I did not have a chance to say goodbye to Mr. Collins. But, Mr. Collins did say goodbye to me. On that check in the "For" section it said simply, "Thanks David." He didn't have to say anything else. I knew what he meant. A simple kindness doesn't cost you anything. But, the rewards are immense. I am so thankful that I stopped that day and helped a stranger who needed a kindly favor. Mr. Collins, thank you sir, for being such a kindly human being.