Good act's side effects
While in school, I had been a Boy Scout and had been instructed to do a good turn every day.
It has been over three decades now that I have left school but the Boy Scouts' training has remained deeply ingrained. I do not lose any opportunity to do a good turn, if not daily, whenever it comes my way.
The other day, an opportunity presented itself. I saw a woman pushing her moped ... apparently it had run out of gas and there was no petrol pump nearby (I don't understand why people do not check the fuel level before taking out their vehicles).
This woman, incidentally, was a teacher in a school where my sister taught. She lived near my house and often visited us. The woman was, therefore, an acquaintance and Boy Scout or otherwise, I had to rush to her help. She was returning from school in the evening and her house was still around five kilometres away.
I was on my motorcycle and was heading in the opposite direction. I stopped and asked her what the problem was. The woman answered that she had run out of petrol, which I had already guessed.
There were a few houses nearby and I approached one of the families and requested to be given a discarded bottle. Having secured the bottle, I drew out some petrol from my own motorcycle and emptied it into the moped's fuel tank. I told the woman to immediately ride to a petrol pump and have gas filled. The petrol from a motorcycle is unmixed with oil whereas a moped requires petrol pre-mixed with oil for lubrication. I was afraid the raw petrol could be damaging.
The woman thanked me profusely and I felt proud that I had done my good turn for the day. But after she had started her vehicle and was about to drive away, she said something that caused my good turn to come crumbling down.
"How much should I pay you?" she asked me.
This question rankled, more so because she was not a stranger. She was an acquaintance and her inclination to pay me made me feel like a repair shop mechanic. However, putting on an artificial smile I told her I was not expecting any money for this small help. I reminded her once again to immediately have petrol mixed with oil filled from a petrol pump and went my way slightly dejected. It hurts when a kind act is sought to be compensated with money.
It was past 9 pm when I stepped out of the office. I started my motorcycle and proceeded for home.
My home is around ten kilometres from the office. Having covered around three kilometres or so, the motorcycle spluttered and came to an abrupt halt.
I tried to start the motorcycle again, but it refused to budge. I was desperate now and a bit angry at the faithful motorcycle for having ditched me. In my anger, I lunged at the kick-starter violently and repeatedly. But still the motorcycle refused to come to life. A few violent kicks later, I found the kick-starter had come off the spindle. I was not carrying any tool kit, so I could not repair it. I tried to start the motorcycle by pushing it after engaging a gear. But all efforts proved in vain and the motorcycle would not start.
I had arrived at a place where parking the motorcycle would not have been a safe bet. I was, therefore, faced with the prospect of dragging it along for a distance of almost seven kilometres - a prospect which I did not relish after putting in 8 hours of work in the office. It was a little over 9.30 pm.
But I had no option and I started trudging along with the motorcycle. After going some distance, I found that a man had fallen down after his motorcycle ran over a huge pot-hole on the road.
I immediately rushed to his help. I picked up his fallen motorcycle, offered him a hand to get up and picked up the glasses that he had dropped. Having done so, I commenced my laborious journey.
I had gone some distance, when I found that the man had gathered himself up and having started his vehicle, stopped by me.
"One good turn deserves another," I thought to myself thoroughly convinced that the man had stopped by to offer me his help.
"Do you know where I should complain about the bad roads?" he asked me.
I directed him to the authorities concerned.
After receiving this information from me, the man rode off much to my dismay. He had not even thanked me for my help.
Well, so much for the adage 'one good turn deserves another'! But I could not help laughing, thinking about the funny side of the incident.
I walked further and came across a youngster who was waiting by the roadside on his motorcycle.
Witnessing my plight, he came up to me and offered his help without my even asking for it. He had a tool kit and tried to repair the kick-starter but to no avail. He also tried to push start my vehicle. But here again his efforts failed. But, I was really grateful to him. I thanked him profusely and assured him that I would park the vehicle somewhere and catch a bus.
After the initial jolt, this act of kindness restored my faith in the youth and I walked the entire distance feeling much lighter.