Quick ride leaves lasting impact

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Several years ago when I was teaching at Clovis Community College, on one of New Mexico’s unusually rainy days, Buffy and I turned out of the college parking lot and onto the street that borders the college. We saw a woman in the distance walking in the rain. She carried a heavy bag of books and a physical disability caused her to walk tediously and somewhat unsteadily.

As we passed her, the rain suddenly began to come down heavier. Buffy said, “Oh Mom, let’s give her a ride.”

So I made a U-turn in the street and pulled up beside her. Buffy rolled down her window and offered her a ride. The woman immediately answered, “Yes, thank you…thank you…”

As she got into our car, I noticed that her glasses were wet with rain. I asked her name and then told her who we were. Then I asked her where she was headed. She gave me the address of her house, and it was about two-and-a-half miles from where we were.

“How did you get to class this morning?” I asked.

“I walked,” she replied.

“All the way from your house?” I questioned with disbelief.

“Yes, all the way from my house,” she said smiling.

“Well how were you going to get to class tomorrow?” I questioned her.

She replied, “Oh I’ll walk. I don’t mind.”

I told her that I would be glad to pick her up in the morning and then we would see what we could get worked out for a ride later. I thought she was surely intent on school if she was willing to walk all the way.

During our ride she told us about her family, her kids and her brother.

“He was my inspiration,” she said. “He wanted me to go to college. He was going to give me a ride to school everyday, but he was killed in a car accident in May.”

We pulled up in front of her house. By then I knew all about her: Her mother lived in Texas, she had three children and three stepchildren, she wanted to get her college degree, and her faith in God was very significant to her.

We parked. The rain began to come down even harder and faster. She opened the door and got out.

“I sure do appreciate the ride,” she said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I had to walk this far in the rain.”

I will never forget what she said next: “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be all right. Someday I am going to be somebody.” And with that she closed the door and walked unsteadily toward her house.

I was taken aback by her disposition. Her inspiring attitude made me see what a complainer I was. I admitted to Buffy that our passenger had shown me the importance of overlooking momentary troubles.

The words “I will be somebody” just stuck in my heart and mind. The world may never know who is she or who she will become. And this thought came to me: You already are somebody. Anyone could take a lesson from you.

I am certain of another thing. I was destined to meet her because in encountering her, I looked at myself more closely and found my attitude lacking. For that day and the rest of that week, even the thought of her inspired me and still does today.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net