The story of the Good Samaritan is one that most of us are familiar with, and as an on-looker, it is so easy to say “I could do that”. Yet ask yourself how do really feel when a homeless person gets in your way to ask for food, or money? What do you do when you see a broken down car by the roadside? Do you stop to help?
The reality is that quite often our first instinct is distrust, potential fear, don’t’ have time to stop and help. The first question that often comes to mind is that if I stop to help someone, what will happen to me? The Good Samaritan flipped the question around and asked himself “If I do not stop to help this person, what will happen to him?”
What does it mean to be a Good Samaritan?
So, what does it mean to be a Good Samaritan in today’s world? The Bible Society conducted some research by asking this very question to the public. The results were as follows:
- 31% doing something at a small cost to yourself, e.g. giving someone directions, volunteering, giving money to someone for a train ticket home.
- 20% doing something at a potentially significant cost to yourself, e.g. jumping into a river to save someone else, stopping to help at a car accident.
- 19% doing something good for someone you don’t like or wouldn’t normally associate with.
As Christians we acknowledge that man was made in the image of God. However, we rarely hear in Western society what transpires when both God’s Spirit and man’s spirit collide in unison. It can spark a spiritual explosion that is both spontaneous and contagious – a reaction that reverberates and compounds into something quite astounding.
No doubt there are thousands of amazing stories occurring every day just as incredible as the one we are about to share with you, yet the media in general is more focussed in sharing quite often sensationalised stories that bring fear into our lives.
This is the story of Walter Carr’s first day at work. Walter’s story rippled and grew until it roared like a tsunami, creating a digital global shock-wave of the very best kind.
20 year-old Walter Carr from the US city of Birmingham, Alabama, was planning to drive from his suburban apartment of Homewood to Pelham, a small city a distance of around 32 kilometres way. It was to be his first day on the job as a removalist, and Pelham was the location for his very first task on this new job. But Walter did not make it. Not by car anyway.
If you have heard the story, you will know the car was not going to do its job. It was broken, busted, and in no condition to go anywhere soon. The distance to his place of new employment may not have been far by car. A car in good working order. So left with no other option Walter decided to walk it. A walk he estimated would take him eight hours.
Before we go on, let’s pause for a second and think…If your car had broken down and you had no other way to get to your workplace but by foot, would you do it?
Straight away, this gives us some insight into the character of this young man, and God was by his side on this journey.
After a few hours sleep Walter set off at midnight. By 4 am he had reached Pelham and that’s where a police officer Mark Knighten spotted the young man. Instead of turning a blind eye, the police officer stopped and bought him some food before dropping him at a local church and organised for a colleague, Scott Duffey, to pick up Walter at the church and to drive him the final leg of the journey.
His destination for the removalist work was the home of Jenny Lamey. “My husband and I were packing when the doorbell rang. It was a police officer.”
Naturally, Jenny and her husband were concerned why the police were at their door, until the police officer explained what had happened.
“I have this really nice kid in my car and he said he’s meant to help you move this morning.” The police officer said. Jenny could not fathom how this young man had walked all night for over 30 kilomnetres to ensure he arrived to not only his new job, but his first task on time.
As Jenny tells the story, God was certainly working that day in police officers Mark Knighten and Scott Duffey.
Jenny sensed that the officer had a deep admiration and compassion for what Walter had achieved. Although Walter was offered to take a rest until his fellow removalist colleagues joined him, he gracefully refused by saying: “No thanks Ma’am, I’d rather just go ahead and get started with the moving.”
Proverbs 4:27 ‘Do not swerve to the left or the right.’ – ‘Few men come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.’ (Polar explorer Richard Byrd – The Word For You Today.)
Loving your neighbour means to take action
Jenny is a mum of three boys and confesses that she had to step away several times to compose herself, she was so overwhelmed emotionally by Walter’s commitment and determination to not let anyone down, but also wondered whether her sons would do anything like this.
During the day, Jenny made time to get to know a bit of Walter’s story – she found out that Walter’s family had lost their home in Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana when he was a child, and as a result Katrina he’d been transplanted to Birmingham. Walter shared that he was going into the marines. But what struck Jenny and her husband was how sincere, kind and how hardworking Walter was.
By the time Walter had become safely ensconced in the Lamey home, a number of good things were taking place. Little did he know those good things were to magnify multiple times in the hours and days to come.
Thomas Merton wrote in the book No Man is an Island the following words: “Love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.”
Just as the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Lamey family demonstrated the power of practical love. Love born out of true concern and care over Walter, a stranger. Yet the fruit of that love was still to come…
“The whole 48 hours after the move was just incredible,” Jenny stated, saying she did not know until she rang the removalist company Bellhops Moving to thank them for the great job they had done what had occurred since her meeting with Walter.
Jenny had shared Walter’s story on Facebook. The story had gone viral to the extent the post had reached Bellhops Moving headquarters. She had also set up a GoFundMe page with the intention of raising $2,000 to help Walter have his car repaired.
But surprise surprise!
Three days into his new job Luke Marklin, the CEO of Bellhops Moving, obviously deeply moved by Walter Carr’s story, drove all the way from Chattanooga to Birmingham to present Walter with a new car. And it wasn’t just any old car. This was his own personal car.
But there’s more.
Jenny’s goal of $2,000 had escalated beyond all expectations, way beyond the original target and at last count was over $90,000! and that was despite the ‘No Longer Accepting Donations’ tag having gone up.
As for Walter, he must be pinching himself. Consider Walter’s character and his demeanour right from the outset. It speaks volumes about his kindness and willingness to help and to do the right thing, all in a spirit of humility.
The donations tally has continued to rise and Walter overwhelmed by the blessing into his life, has decided to pass on the blessing onto the Birmingham Education Foundation, an organisation that helped Walter become the 20 year old young man he is today.
The learnings from this story to become today’s Good Samaritan
There are numerous Biblical verses that relate to Walter Carr’s amazing first day at work, but perhaps none more appropriate than Acts 20:35. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
- Walter gave of himself by walking 32 kilometres through the night to be on time for his first day at work.
- The police officers did not judge or made assumptions, instead they willingly and generously gave their time to transport Walter to his destination and to feed him.
- Jenny Lamey used ‘what was in her hand’ to make a difference in Walter’s life. (Facebook, GoFundMe, her hospitality in the home etc.)
- Walter’s new boss, Luke Marklin who gave Walter his own car!
- The many hundreds of people who have given thousands upon thousands of dollars to Walter through the GoFundMe appeal, and
- Walter himself, who is blessing others by giving back to the charity organisation that helped build and shape the godly character in his life after Hurricane Katrina.