$20 Bucks That Changed a Life – THE BEST STORY EVER
CULTURE | LIFESTYLE
~ Guest Contributor Beau Laughlin
At DailyISO Los Angeles, we try to help you discover all the best parts of our great city. What we often forget is that what truly makes this city great, are the people it’s made up of. Yesterday, I stumbled across one of the most inspiring stories I’ve heard in a long time and asked the writer and LA local Beau Laughlin if he would share it here on the website.
Here’s his story…
7 years ago I was traveling through Texas by myself on a road trip. It was late in the day, out of gas, phone was dead, and I hit an insanely bad flash flood. I pulled into a station to get cover and fill up. I went inside to pay for snacks, and realized I had left my wallet on top of the pump. I went outside to grab it, and it had been stolen within 1 minute of leaving it. Needless to say, I was in a tough situation.
I couldn’t call anyone for help (had no numbers), had no money, and literally had nowhere to go. As I went inside to try to sort what I was going to do this sweet old woman who was cashiering at the gas station asked what happened, and I explained. After telling her the story she offered me $20. Again, she was a cashier at gas station in a very small town in Vidor, Texas, and I could tell that $20 was a lot of money for her. I declined, but she persisted. I asked for her information so I could repay her. She told me that no repayment was necessary, but to send her a Christmas card, and just remember her.
Being the disorganized person I am, I misplaced the address, and was just completely devastated. About two months ago I decided to tackle the 19 clear plastic bins in my garage, and start to organize all of the random paper work, and bits. After 3 days of sorting I found her information!
The real intention of my road trip that I’m on was to go and see this woman in South East Texas. Yesterday I decided was the day! I didn’t know if she had moved, was working, wouldn’t come to the door, etc, but I had to come see her.
As I pulled into her neighborhood I started feeling really nervous not knowing what to say or if she would even remember me. I pulled into the driveway of a cute modest home, and saw the curtains move. I got out, went to the door, and knocked. About a minute later this sweet old woman appeared. I smiled and asked her if she was Brenda? She replied, yes. Brenda Higgins who worked at a local gas station about 7 years ago? She replied yes.
I went on to tell her how I’ve been thinking about her for the past 7 years, what she meant to me, and how that was one of the most generous, selfless things I had seen, and what am important moment in my life it was. You could visibly see her responding to what I was saying, and her remembering the circumstance. I then pulled out an envelope, and told her I wanted to give her $1000 for helping a stranger, and being such a kind person. She of course refused, and persisted that she couldn’t take it. I told her that I could either give it to her in hand & give her the biggest hug ever, or I could leave it on the porch. Either way that money was staying there.
She immediately hugged me and started crying. Not because of the money, and what it would do for her personally, but because just two days prior she told me that she had to put her mother into a retirement home out of necessity. She told me how she had been selling off personal items to pay for it as she and her family couldn’t afford the treatment & care. She once again hugged me, started crying, and told me that what I gave her would pay for everything for her mother (who she referred to as her best friend).
After a mutually emotional few minutes we once again hugged, she got my information and I went on my way with a very full heart. This was by far the most amazing thing that has happened to me. That woman had such an amazing impact on my life, and it seems that I’ve had a chance to help her a bit as well. I just wanted to share this with everyone as I’ve had the most incredible trip of my life.
### Beau Laughlin is a Los Angeles resident and an owner of the hospitality group Cardiff Giant, which includes the ever-popular venues The Hudson and The Churchill. Recently, he and his business partner took over the lease of Voyeur nightclub, where we should expect a revamped venue to open sometime in early 2013.