Thanks, Friend

I once saw an elderly man get hit by a double decker bus. It happened in the middle of Glasgow many years ago. I was returning home from an all night party with a bunch of friends. The old man was coming towards us and he got clipped by the outside wing mirror of the bus. It sent him sprawling to the ground and he ended up in the gutter.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Everybody gathered around him in a circle, but nobody knew who he was and he just laid there, stunned. Something instinctively told me to get down on my knees, make him comfortable and sit with him. I held his hands and wiped his brow a couple of times and quietly spoke to him. He was petrified and shocked. I was worried that he was going to lose consciousness, which may have caused him greater damage.

So I talked to him about football, about the weather, and about who he was. His name was Alex and he lived on his own. It was getting cold, so I took my jacket off to keep him warm and someone else gave me a jacket to prop up his head. There were tears coming down his face and I thought it was because of the pain. When I asked him if he was sore, he said, “No, I’m weeping because you’re the first person who has talked to me in a long time.”

Pretty soon, we could all hear the sirens of the paramedic teams arriving. They quickly took over, bundled him up, and put Alex on a stretcher. Just before they left, Alex held out his hand to me. He looked me in the eye and quietly said, “Thanks, friend.”

Everyone needs a friend. There are lots of lonely people in the world who just need a kind word and a smile, a short conversation, and a moment of encouragement. Wherever we go and whosoever we meet, let’s try to be a friend.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, there are times in our lives when we feel lonely and isolated, vulnerable and alone. Grant us good friends who will support and help us, encourage and love us. May we also be friends to those who are alone and reach out to those whom we would normally pass by. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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