I am amazed when people tell me ‘god is nowhere’. Sometimes, I too start speculating about the truth of the statement ‘god is nowhere’ when things do not go my way. Yesterday, an incident happened with us that shook us up from the ‘nowhere’ mode. After a long time, the adage that ‘god is now-here’ and not ‘nowhere’ got reinforced for me. With this event, it feels you just have to have the eyes to know and find the little acts of kindness that make human beings equivalent to god. Or perhaps, was it god in a human form?
Yesterday, we were meeting some of our students who are interning at College Station, Texas A&M. We all planned for a small party at Sonic. We all got into the car, planning to take pictures and drive around the college station area. The moment we came on the main street from their apartments, our car hit a bump and immediately the entire oil pan on the lower shaft of the body got damaged and started leaking all over. We could barely manage to drive for a few steps from Sonic (where we all were chilling out) to reach an automobile parts center called O’Reilley Auto Parts’ (they only sell parts, do not repair cars). The sales group went out of their way to find us a repair garage. They called up several numbers, but since it was already 6 PM on a Sunday and that too on a long weekend, every auto garage was closed in the town. We desperately needed to get back home. But, home (Denton) was a 4 hours drive from College Station. With the serious leaks in the car, it was near impossible to drive back. As visitors in a foreign land, we are usually very careful about keeping ourselves safe. We had a group of four students along with us and seriously did not want to trouble them with our woes. Needless, to say that they were inadvertently dragged along with us into the eye of the chaos. We both breathed deep and shared a look at each other which meant, “god if you are around, please help”. It was then that we all witnessed an immensely extraordinary act of kindness. The young sales person (a college student himself), stepped up to help us. We had a drive of four and half hours back from College Station to Denton. When he saw that we were helpless, needed to get back immediately, since Monday was a work day for us, he himself took to helping us out and got down to help mending the leaks. He checked the store shelves trying to find some way to give us a temporary mend that would last us home. He could only find metal seal patches and two gallons of engine oil to refill. From 6 PM until 9.30 PM he stayed with us, repairing, checking and adding metal seal patches time and again. It took 4 attempts to seal that big crack with 15 minutes of wait time for each attempt. Not only that, he allowed us (we were a group of five people) to wait inside the shop in air conditioning even after the shop had officially closed down at 8 PM. He asked us to wait inside and come out through the back door while the front glass entrance was locked up. However, the story does not end there. The greatest surprise was waiting for us for the end. He tried mending whatever he could in the oil pan, even while it had got dark, and instructed us to keep checking every half an hour if the engine oil was leaking or there was any fume in the engine. He asked us to refill the engine oil without letting the crank overflow, and finally after warning us not to continue driving at night if it was still leaking heavily, he packed up his ruck-sack and gave everyone (our students and Amit a hug), wished us to drive safe, and turned on the ignition keys of his Harley. Amit stopped him and offered him money, he denied! Just gave a smile, and rode off. We all were left staring at him in surprise.
I held my breath and later told Amit, “I did not know god rides a Harley”! We started driving back at 10.30 PM and reached back at 2 AM (our students were worried and did not want us to leave their place. But we needed to be back home because of the commitments here). We fogot to ask his name in our anxiety and he never told us his name. Just vanished riding his Harley into the dusk.
On retrospect, Amit says: “He looked as if he was on a mission to help us get home”.