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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crashing in Las Vegas and Saved by a Good Samaritan

In 2009, my life in Las Vegas was falling all apart. I had no idea what was next and the road was getting bumpier by the day. On a hot day in August, I finally ran out of rope. If it wasn't for a random act of kindness, I would have been in deep trouble and would have had to endure a shame I'd never live down.

The gamble I took in 2007 on buying a big house to eventually sell for a profit had backfired. I became a victim of the housing bubble as my property value continued to shrink with the falling market.

My stock option trading was not producing enough income to pay my bills and my capital was shrinking as I struggled to pay some of my bills. In January of 2009, I had to forgo paying my mortgage and enter into the long painful road of foreclosure.

By the summer of 2009, I was completely out of cash. My ex-wife was going away for a weekend trip to get out of the broiling August heat of Las Vegas. My 8 year old daughter was going to stay with me. On the day I picked up my daughter, my water was shut off.

When the water was cut off, my first thought was not being able to have water to drink. Shortly after that I was hit by the fact that I could no longer flush a toilet. There was no way I could have my daughter with me and not have water to drink or a toilet to flush. I had to come up with a solution, ASAP.

Since my X was out of town, I couldn't call her. I called my sister in Ohio to see if she could wire me some money to get the water turned back on. She wasn't available. So I called my friend, Sam, just to tell him the predicament I was in and see if he had any ideas.


Sam happened to work for the water department, the Las Vegas Valley Water District. He was one of their field technicians, servicing mainly corporate accounts.

About an hour after I spoke to Sam, I heard the water begin running in the toilet again. I checked all of the faucets and they were all running. Within seconds, I was on the phone to Sam, "Hey, the water is back on. Do you know anything about this?"

Sam quietly replied, "It's taken care of." Sam had paid the $100 to cover the overdue bill and the restart charge.

I never asked Sam to pay the bill. He just did it.

Sam and I both attended Canyon Ridge Christian Church in northwest Las Vegas. Sam did exactly what our pastors had preached on so many Sundays - help others. That is what Jesus had done His whole life. He helped others, and did it without expecting anything in return.

If all you can take away from Christianity is that you should help others in need, then that would change the world. You don't have to believe in an afterlife or follow a specific list of rules and regulations. Just help others.

You can't be expected to run around paying bills for those in need. However, there are many other ways you can help others. Is there someone who needs a ride? Do you know an elderly person who needs a friend? Is there a single mother who could use a hand around the house?

All you have to do is look around you and I'm sure you will be able to find opportunities for you to be a Good Samaritan. The story in the Bible was not just a nice story. It was a lesson on how we should live our lives.

Do what you can. To Sam, the $100 was well within his means. To me, it meant being able to have my daughter with me for a long weekend and not have to crawl to my ex-wife's mother and beg to let my daughter stay with her. Sam saved my dignity. I will be forever grateful to him for that act of kindness. Someday, I will pay him back.

If you are searching for a positive Christian message to help guide your life, I would highly suggest checking out the Canyon Ridge Christian Church Podcasts. Canyon Ridge offers their weekend messages in series. They will devote two to six weeks to a particular topic. I'd highly encourage you to subscribe to the feed and not miss a week of sermons. With inspired words only a click away, you will benefit greatly with each podcast. Try it. I'm sure you'll love it.
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