Good

It’s a family, walking along the shoulder of the road. They are Hispanic. A woman pushes a stroller, two young boys walk behind her. None of them speak much English.

Nashville, Tennessee—Nathan is twelve. He is on his way to soccer practice. His mother is driving. He is in the backseat of the car. He sees something.

“Pull over, Mom!” says Nathan.

She does.

It’s a family, walking along the shoulder of the road. They are Hispanic. A woman pushes a stroller, two young boys walk behind her. None of them speak much English.

But this is no problem. Nathan has been taking Spanish in school. Nathan translates. He tells his mother that the family’s car has broken down.

So, his mother calls a tow truck. While they wait, Nathan’s mother treats the family to supper. They carry on choppy conversations in broken tongues. Nathan translates the best he can.

By the end of the night, two families have become friends. And to shorten a long story, today Nathan is a grown man who says:

“‘Bondad’ means ‘goodness’ in Spanish and it’s my favorite word.”

Bueno, Nathan.

Katy, Texas—She is an EMT student. She doesn’t know whether she wants this for a career. She’s been on ride-alongs, sitting in ambulances, watching emergency workers. She has seen some terrible scenes.

“The first accident I ever saw,” she says, “was so traumatic, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months. I just didn’t know if I was cut out to be a paramedic.”

One night, she is walking into a movie theater. She sees an old woman leaving the theater. The woman stumbles on the curb and falls onto her face.

Blood. Broken bones. Hollering. It is a mess.

The EMT in her kicks into action. The staff brings her an emergency first-aid kit. She dresses the woman’s wounds just like she’d been studying. She immobilizes the woman’s neck. She keeps her calm.

“I was cool under pressure,” she says. “It surprised me. I was like, ‘Hey dude, I can actually do this.’”

She rides with the woman to the hospital. She calls the family and tells them she is all right.

Today, she’s a ten-year first-responder veteran. A paramedical instructor. A mother of three. A hero.

Chanute, Kansas—Gary has no high school education, a minimum wage fast-food job, and not much money. He’s dropped out of school to become a full-time caregiver to his older brother, who is in a wheelchair.

Gary’s brother needs help bathing himself, feeding himself, and using the bathroom.

Looking after his brother is more important than textbooks and pencil sharpeners. Doctors don’t know how much time Gary’s brother has left.

And as it happens, Gary’s brother doesn’t have much time. He dies when Gary is twenty-four.

A few weeks after the funeral, a man shows on Gary’s porch. He is a distant cousin. He is a pipe-welder. He tells Gary he wants to pay for welding school if he is interested.

“No thanks,” says Gary. “I don’t wanna be a welder.”

“Think it over,” the man goes on. “Welders make good money.”

It is quite an offer from a half-stranger.

Gary takes him up on it. And as fate has it, he is a natural. He is not only good at welding, he is an expert underwater welder.

Today, he has seen almost every state in the Lower Forty-Eight, and even gone to Hawaii once. And as of last year, he just completed his college education. He majored in English. He likes literature and poetry the best.

“Welding school changed my life,” says Gary. “It’s funny, I wish my brother could see me now, I think he’d be proud of me.”

I have more stories I want to tell you—a lot more—but I don’t have enough room. So before I go, there’s something I received in the mail a few days ago. The letter was from Nashville, Tennessee, from a man who teaches Spanish for a living, and coaches soccer on the weekends.

A man who still remembers giving a ride to strangers once, when he was a boy.

The letter reads: “I truly believe there’s more good (bondad) out there than the television people want us to know about…”

I believe that, too, Nathan.

Gracias.

16 comments

  1. Howard Yeager - May 17, 2018 6:53 am

    De nada

    Reply
  2. CaroG87 - May 17, 2018 9:38 am

    Que linda!

    Reply
  3. janiesjottings - May 17, 2018 10:07 am

    I believe there’s more good in the world than bad too Sean. All the scenes of devastation after a hurricane or some other tragedy break my heart but I rejoice in the reports of how people come out of the woodwork to help. Nothing brings me to tears faster than stories of ordinary people helping their fellow human beings because they have good hearts and kindness runs through them. These good and decent people outnumber the bad ten to one, I believe that.

    Reply
  4. Joe - May 17, 2018 11:39 am

    Sean, my grandpa says soccer is a communist sport. Is that true? He says Paul Harvey said it.

    Reply
  5. Penn Wells - May 17, 2018 12:03 pm

    Gracias, indeed. 👍

    Reply
  6. Dianne - May 17, 2018 12:32 pm

    And, I believe it, too!! Thank you for a wonderful beginning to my day.

    Reply
  7. Jack Darnell - May 17, 2018 12:51 pm

    Love this one also. I am a firm believer in good people. Always have been. Pushing 80 I have met good people 100 to 1 of the less desirable. THANKS for continuing to enforce my beliefs.

    Reply
    • Glenda H - May 17, 2018 11:21 pm

      Jack Darnell, you should know that reading Sean’s Blog is a highlight of my day (as is reading yours, the Shipslog) and through tears over this beautiful post from Sean, I am compelled to respond: your comment melted my heart!!!

      Reply
  8. Connie Havard Ryland - May 17, 2018 1:50 pm

    I want so badly to believe in the goodness in the world. But right now, I have friends suffering because of the stupidity and pure meanness of someone else, so it’s really hard. When good people are hurt, it’s hard to see past that. In short-I needed your words this morning. Thank you.

    Reply
  9. Edna B. - May 17, 2018 1:58 pm

    I’ve always believed that there are more good folks than bad ones in this world. Thanks for this wonderful story. You have a great day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  10. Carla Dillenburg - May 17, 2018 2:33 pm

    Another story, one of millions or billions, of goodness: last winter, in sub-freezing weather (and it can be bitterly cold here on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state) the fire alarm went off in our tiny school. Kids and staff filed outside, as they were supposed to, but the alarm kept going off and the source hadn’t been discovered, and the kids hadn’t stopped for coats. When the superintendent went outside to check on them, the teens had formed a huddle around the smaller children, with the smallest in the center. Kids, these days.

    Reply
  11. H. Shelton Armour - May 17, 2018 2:35 pm

    Bravo and thanksgivings for all earth’s angel. Bondad should be a word we all know and practice.

    Reply
  12. Sue Cronkite - May 17, 2018 4:36 pm

    Wonderful!!!

    Reply
  13. Debra - May 17, 2018 8:13 pm

    Thank you for bringing us the good in this old world. Lord knows we need to be reminded. And He has blessed you with the talent and heart to tell us.

    Reply
  14. Lois Young - May 17, 2018 9:24 pm

    Thank you! Wonderful stories.

    Reply
  15. Victoria Scott Kearley Hamner - May 21, 2018 2:54 pm

    Sean, you make my day every day. Thank you.

    Reply

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