Ways of kindness toward others have a habit of circling back around

            The Buddhists hold a belief that whatever you do will comes back to you, good or bad. It’s called karma. While there’s not a lot we hold in common with our Buddhist brothers and sisters, I do believe that how we act toward others – in a good or bad way – will eventually come home to roost.

            Let me share a great story I recently heard.

            A successful business woman, the CEO of her company, was traveling home via a construction detour on a lonely back road coming from a meeting one cold night. The weather had turned to sleet when she felt her front tire blow. Reaching for her cell phone, she realized she must have left it somewhere behind.

            While she pondered what to do, Joe was driving home on that same street. Cold and hungry, he was anxious to get home to his pregnant wife after a hard day working construction in a warehouse. He prayed his ancient truck would hold up under the weather, and debated, “Pay for groceries or pay the rent?”

            When he first passed the lady on the side of the road in her Lexus, his first thought was “Good, I bet she doesn’t think she’s so big in that fancy car now.”

            But Joe’s conscience began to nag at him. That’s not how his mom raised him. She always reminded Joe to ask himself what Jesus might do in any given situation. So, with a long sigh, Joe turned the truck around.

            Tapping at her window, Joe was irritated when she wouldn’t roll the window down then realized she was afraid of this stranger in the dark. Pointing to the trunk, he mouthed, “Open it and I’ll change your tire,” which he proceeded to do. Tapping on the window once more, he told her it was done.

            The lady started to pull out a $50.00 bill to give to Joe. “No, he shook his head.” She misunderstood and pulled out a $100. Joe hesitated. That money would buy groceries for the next two weeks. Shouting through the window, Joe again shook his head “no.” He was happy to help.

            Shivering back in the truck with no heater, Joe slapped his head: Oh how that money would have helped! But something deep inside told him he had done the right thing.

            The woman pulled away, drove into a small town with a small café that looked warm and inviting. She realized she hadn’t eaten in hours so she stopped.

            The young waitress inside sighed. It was only 15 minutes until closing and all the other customers had left. She had so hoped to get home on time. But the woman looked like she could use a hot cup of coffee. Placing her order, the woman looked up at the smiling waitress. Her welcoming hospitality almost made her forget the whole tire episode.

            Setting the woman’s coffee down, the waitress put her hands on her lower back, the iconic pose for a woman late in pregnancy. The woman also noticed the dark circles under the young woman’s eyes. The waitress read her look of concern and shrugged her shoulders: “I just want to help out at home as long as I can.”

            As the rich woman sipped her coffee she thought of the young man who stopped to help. He had given her something her money couldn’t buy. He gave unselfishly of himself, just like this young waitress. They didn’t seek praise or even thanks. They both did what they knew was right and gave of themselves in the moment. Quietly she slipped a tip under her plate and left.

            Rushing to clear the table and get home, at first the waitress didn’t notice the tip. When she did, she felt her breath go out of her - five $100 bills.

            Hurrying home, she wasn’t even annoyed to see water all over the kitchen floor. She just wanted to share her good news with her husband – Joe. He was astounded!

            What goes around, comes around! You don’t need to be a Buddhist to appreciate that. It’s the way of nature and we should heed the message.


            Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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