Nameless Strangers – The Good Samaritan

On the road we meet many people. Some we will forget. Others will remain in our memories forever.

Travellers’ stories of hospitality from strangers are not uncommon. But that doesn’t make them any less memorable.

These chance encounters are often over with in a flash, but they will remain in the memory forever.

Whether it’s the tall grey-haired fellow who stops his red pick-up to tell you there’s a really scenic off-road route that will also avoid the steep hill and.then goes on to explain how to reach it.

Or the larger than life, jovial old chap from the farm you stopped at ons search for water, who tells of good spot to camp and later turns up there in his truck with wood for a fire, diesel to get it started and a thermos of hot water, on a particularly cold night.

Or the talkative man who asks interestedly about our journey over coffee in McDonalds one morning and tells of how he has damaged his car when he hit an elk in the way into town. And then as he says goodbye and wishes us well drops a $20 note on our table saying he’s sure we could use it for a meal or more coffees.

I never had a chance to ask these people’s names. As quickly as they entered my day, they left again.

But why is it that so often we don’t even know their name?

It’s because the stranger expects nothing in return. A purely altruistic act. (Except perhaps to feel good, if you believe in the selfish gene.)

And good samaritans don’t have names.

Not heroes with a name for whom fame usually follows.

(now since I rarely learn these helpful strangers names, it’s even rarer that I get a photo. So instead, here are a couple of photos of the kind of  places where these unlikely encounters sometimes occur…)

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