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Good Judgment and a Shiny Red Ford : Bweinh!

Good Judgment and a Shiny Red Ford

April 4, 2007, 9:30 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Chloe  | No Comments

Seven years old and stuck on the side of the highway. My mother’s lame old truck had finally collapsed halfway between where my mother, my eight-year-old sister and I had come from, and halfway to where we were going. My mother had suspected the truck would not make the two-hour journey again, and yet with two young children and nowhere to stay, she had had no choice.

The twenty-year-old Chevy broke down at twilight. Cell phones were not popular yet, and even if they had been, my hard-of-hearing and penniless mother would not have owned one. The dull green truck gave no indication as to why it had broken down, and my mom knew nothing about cars anyway. No one was expecting us. Who would stop for us? My sister and I began to cry. We had watched “911 Emergency,” and we knew what happened to people who broke down on highways at night. My mother tried to console us, but she was no less frightened, and all the more aware of just how hopeless our situation was.

But someone did stop for us. He was a big cowboy named Teddy or Tim, with a broad hat and a shiny red Ford. I’m pretty sure he wore all white. He took us to the nearest town, gave my mother a quarter for the phone, and waited until my grandparents came to pick us up. Then he went on his way.

Now I know what a risk that man took in stopping to help us. He didn’t know who was in the truck with the hazard lights flashing. It could have been a deranged killer, a thief, a few young men hyped up on anything and completely lacking in good judgment. And yet the cowboy took the risk and possibly saved the lives of a young woman and her two little girls.


I don’t help people like that. I don’t give the homeless money, I don’t stop to help a stranded person, and I don’t give to those women who knock on my door at 2 AM saying they need bus fare to get to Mexico because (fill in relative here) is dying. I think it’s bad judgment. I don’t know the whole situation. I don’t know how much money is going to substance abuse, gambling or who knows what else. I don’t know which person on the side of the highway would be the one to end my life. It’s good judgment to just keep moving. It’s self-preservation.


Where would I be without what I label “bad judgment,” without the kindness and “stick your neck out” mentality of the cowboy and his Ford? How much of my “good judgment” is really a rejection of my calling as a Christian to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned? How often is “good judgment” just avoiding the simple sacrifices needed to be part of a community, to give as has been given to me?


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