40 Before 40

10 Jan

Maybe she was doing just fine after the heartache and then she heard that song on the radio … the one that was theirs and she just couldn’t take it, and she broke down.

Maybe her brother died.

Maybe she got a call from the doctor and the results were positive.

Maybe she got fired.

Maybe it was her birthday and that someone special actually forgot.

Maybe she didn’t pass the BAR exam and it was her second attempt.

I don’t know what it was, I really don’t but there she was, in her silver 1990s Honda Civic, clutching the wheel with one hand and holding her forehead with the other. I turned because for some reason that’s what I do when I’m at a stoplight and there she was right next to me having a quiet moment of desperation among all the traffic.

Crying, really crying.

And I felt bad.

I sat there looking at her thinking what I could do to help her out, because I knew … I knew exactly how she felt, hiding behind those sunglasses. I’ve had moments like these when I’m driving and then all of a sudden it hits me, which his probably why I don’t like answering the phone while I’m on the road. I saw her and I knew that she was heartbroken and I felt bad.

I looked for my emergency stash of chocolate in the car, maybe I could just roll down my window and make some kind of gesture in hopes that she could find a moment of peace, but I had nothing in my stash. I didn’t want to roll the window down and ask ‘are you all right?’ because she obviously was not, and even if I did ask she probably would have waved me off and said she was O.K.

I felt like I had to at least ask, though. But as I rolled down my window someone honked their horn. She vroomed it out of there, I tried to follow but she turned down the street and I had no idea where she had gone.

I don’t know where she is now, but I’m hoping she’s better.

But me?

I was left feeling impotent. Wishing I could have done something nice for someone who was in so much pain, so I came up with an idea. Maybe I could help someone else.

40 before 40.

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts Of Kindness Before I Turn 40.


40 before 40

40 before 40




That would be good thing.

Maybe I’ll make someone’s day less miserable. Maybe they’re having a moment and that little something nice will give them a break from the craziness of their life. Maybe it’ll be the something that’ll turn their day around. Maybe they’ll find a little peace in the small gesture that was meant to make them smile.

Don’t know, but maybe.

40 before 40. That would be a good present. Doing something for someone else.

So I did it.

I started the adventure.

I went to the first place I could think of to do something nice for someone else. I went to the drive-thru, something I rarely do, and ordered something for my kids. As I paid for my order I looked at the guy and said …

“I got theirs too,” pointing to the minivan behind me.

“You know them?” he asked.

“No. I don’t. But I got it. But can you do me a favor though? Tell them I said ‘Happy New Year.'”

I grabbed my receipt and drove away.

I know it wasn’t something big, but it was something I thought would make someone smile. Even if it wasn’t the lady that I had originally seen, I was still able to do something nice for someone.

And now I’m hoping. Just hoping I can run into her again, and hoping that she’s in a better state, and if she isn’t, hoping that this time I’ll be able to do something to help.

I’m replenishing my emergency car stash, just in case.




17 Responses to “40 Before 40”

  1. bgddyjim January 11, 2015 at 5:00 AM #

    What a great idea!

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:30 AM #

      Thanks! I really thought it would be a good thing. Hope it’s inspiring.

  2. susielindau January 11, 2015 at 6:27 AM #

    You have such a beautiful heart! I say prayers for strangers, but I love your idea of chocolate!

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:31 AM #

      Thanks so much Susie. Praying is something nice and it was something I actually did for someone when I was at church two weeks ago, but yeah … chocolate also works miracles. 🙂

  3. brickhousechick January 11, 2015 at 8:00 AM #

    Dayum – Guat!!! You are simply too kind! What an awesome post and idea. Leave it to you to do for others for your own birthday. Fantastico, amiga! 🙂

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:34 AM #

      Thanks chica! Just thought I had to do something for that girl, totally got to me and then she just disappeared. Had to do something, then realized the big 4-0 was coming and I said duuuude got to show some kindness out there. Be a good gift helping others … 40 before 40 has a good ring to it.

  4. Cayman Thorn January 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM #

    You’re NY resolution rocks the casbah! I’m sitting here reading, and I can just picture you rummaging for your chocolate stash. It’s what you do. You feel the moment, and then, you know what to do with it. That’s a gift. Never change.

    Blessings to you Cali.

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:36 AM #

      Duuuuude I felt so bad that I had raided my stash on another emotional emergency. But hopefully the universe will conspire with me to find her again, until then I’m on a quest to help 40 others, well 39 now. Be a good gift for me before turning 40 July. 40 worries me, but I’m sure I’ll be all right. Thanks for the positivity my friend.

  5. Jackie Cangro January 11, 2015 at 3:53 PM #

    I had a similar experience when I saw a woman crying on the subway. I wasn’t sure what to say or do, and then she got off at a stop and she was gone.

    I love that you took that experience and those emotions and decided to pay it forward. What a compassionate thing to do. So simple, it’s something we all can do.

    Spread good karma!

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:38 AM #

      Isn’t it crazy when you see someone with so much emotion, dude. It got to me. So I’m all about paying it forward now, 40 before 40, hoping one of them could be that girl, but the city is big.Thanks for the kind words.

  6. lameadventures January 11, 2015 at 9:25 PM #

    While in a taxi, I once saw a barefoot young woman walking in the middle of West End Avenue (a heavily trafficked Upper West Side thoroughfare) crying hysterically. My cabbie and I thought the same thing: a hot mess screaming for attention. He also activated the locks on all the taxi’s doors. Clearly, you’re a much better person than us, Guat.

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:42 AM #

      Ha! You’re too funny. V you’re a great person, hilarious and I’m sure your cabbie got it right with the safety vibe because you never know. Cabbies got a good sense, I imagine.

  7. anotherday2paradise January 12, 2015 at 3:31 PM #

    I love that you connected with this woman in spirit, even though you couldn’t give her chocolate. I like your idea of 40 nice things before your 40. Does that mean I have to do 70 nice things for folk before I’m 70? There isn’t that much time left. 😀

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:44 AM #

      Oh My God. That would be amazing 70 before 70. Duuuuuude that would totally work. I would love to hear about that. 🙂 And thanks, I’ll be sure to let you know how things work out, not so much to publicize the deeds but more to inspire others to pay it forward too, feels good.

  8. cravesadventure January 12, 2015 at 3:49 PM #

    Love your idea – paying it forward and giving a little kindness – that is what matters and makes everyone feel good too 🙂 Happy Week – Good Luck!

    • The Guat January 16, 2015 at 12:46 AM #

      Duuuuude thanks! The response has been great. I love that I was inspired from such a crappy moment to help others, and seeing how the big 4-0 was coming what better gift than to pay it forward, right? Just hoping it helps turn someone’s day around.

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