One of the things I love best about Oklahoma is the kindness people show each other. While it’s probably not unique to Oklahoma — I’m sure people everywhere can be found being kind to each other — it seems to be something that Oklahomans do more than most.
A couple of years ago, I was home visiting my parents in Oklahoma. My mother uses a scooter to get around when we go shopping and it’s a cumbersome piece of equipment that isn’t always easy to load onto the back of the car. We’d just finished a shopping excursion and I was attempting to load Mom’s scooter when I realized I’d made a mistake. I hadn’t aligned the scooter onto the lift properly, and I would need to pick it up and move it about six inches to the left.
Frustrated, I leaned down to move the scooter but had barely laid hands on it when I was stopped by two large gentlemen, each approaching me from opposite directions.
“Whoa! Hang on there a minute,” said one. “That’s way too heavy for you to lift by yourself!”
Gently moving me out of the way, the other gentleman said, “Here — we’ve got it!”
Together the two gentlemen moved the scooter onto the lift and, before I had time to utter much more than a simple “thank you,” they were on their way. They weren’t looking for thanks and they didn’t expect compensation. They were simply doing what Oklahomans have been taught to do since birth — help out those in need.
This past June, country singer and Oklahoma-native Blake Shelton received a lot of media attention when he assisted a stranded motorist whose truck had gotten stuck in the flooded waters of an Oklahoma country road. Coming up seemingly out of nowhere, Shelton hitched his tow strap to the back of the man’s truck and pulled him out, then proceeded to give the man a lift home. The nation gushed: What an awesome thing for such a big star like Blake Shelton to do!! Yes, it was a nice thing to do — a nice thing for anyone to do! And Shelton was only doing what has probably been ingrained in him since birth: lending a hand to his fellow neighbor in a moment of need. To read more abt Shelton’s story (and it is actually pretty funny, as the gentleman he rescued was quite the personality on his own merits), click here.
All of these are great examples of what Oklahomans do, not because we have to, but because it’s who we are. But this morning I saw a story which has quickly become my favorite. While trolling Facebook (as you’ll notice I do frequently), I came across a very brief story from an Oklahoma City TV station. Apparently a homeless man and his dog were out walking when they were hit by a passing vehicle. The man and his dog were fine, but the man’s guitar had been destroyed. He was clearly distraught at the loss of his instrument.
An Oklahoma City police officer called to the scene understood the man’s distress. Leaving the scene, the officer went to his own home where he happened to have an extra guitar, then returned and gifted it to the homeless man. Nobody asked him to do this, and he received nothing in return except perhaps the feeling of his heart growing a bit larger in his chest as he watched the homeless man’s deep appreciation for the gift.
Some may say “it’s just a guitar,” but to this homeless man, that guitar may well have been a lifeline. Having seen firsthand how music can save the soul from desperation, this officer may well have saved a life with his single selfless gift. The homeless man was so grateful that he played a song for the officers, which you can see below.
On their Facebook Page, the Oklahoma City Police Department said of the video:
Service to one’s community takes many forms. Last night, OKCPD officers responded to an auto-pedestrian accident in SE Oklahoma City. When officers arrived on scene, they discovered a homeless man whose dog was injured and prized guitar had been destroyed. He appeared distraught over the injuries to his dog and his broken guitar. Thankfully, the dog was not seriously hurt, however the guitar was a total loss. One of the responding officers, Sgt. Chris Eastwood, drove to his own residence where he had an extra guitar. He drove back and presented the guitar to the homeless man. This is video of him playing the guitar for the first time.
To the officer, I say: Thank you for being another example of the Oklahoma Kindness that I’ve grown to love and miss. You are an inspiration, and may Karma visit you in all of the best possible ways! To see the video, click on the video link below. To read the original story from KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, follow this link.
C.H. Armstrong is a native of El Reno, OK, and a 23-year resident of Rochester, MN. A 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she is the author of the upcoming Historical Fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere. For information and a synopsis about this title, click on THIS LINK.
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