Sympathetic Shoves

This weekend’s column isn’t really about my old Pathfinder truck I drove for almost 25 years, but it does spin off a story of giving a shove to a stranded motorist, with a nudge to learn lessons through the bumps.

A Nudge and a Push with a Bumper of Kindness


“This day, like many days, I bumped into people with all kinds of needs, some who were stalled at their life’s intersections, indecisive or out of gas, feeling powerless, overwhelmed, afraid to proceed.  Then someone bumps into them.  Could they help or will indifference dent the day?  With or without words, they may ask a vulnerable, risky question: Could you give me a push?

Don’t we all ask these sincere questions at crisis points in our lives?  Aren’t we sometimes fearful to show weakness, need, dependence on someone, anyone?

Many of the people I’ve tried to lend a hand to over the years didn’t need that much, at least not much from me.  A listening ear perhaps; a short walk down the sidewalk; a few minutes sitting on a park bench; a cup of coffee in my office.  A person may have a car-full of problems that appear to be unmanageable, out of control or out of fuel.  At times all I could offer was a push to believe in themselves, a nudge to move forward, to make a decision, perhaps to steer in a new direction, even when coasting.  Do they have the momentum, the motivation, the energy or willpower or whatever it takes to get going, or stop going the wrong way, maybe the dead end way.  

I don’t want to “push” this too far.  The image from the story has its limits.  Yet, I think it’s worth considering, contemplating the effect we can have on others and they on us.”

Categories: HumanismTags: , , , ,


  1. Good metaphor Chris. Given recent economics you could add, meeting a driver that is stalled because they do not have enough money to BUY gas. Getting to the station seems less problematic than the cost of our fuel these days. $2.00+ a liter up here. My Forester which I gave to my son takes 60 liters so $120 to fill the tank. I began buying gas as a teen in So. Cal for $.20 per gallon. Crazy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: