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Editor's note: Anonymous Thank Yous is a website that allows people to submit notes of gratitude to strangers who anonymously gave service. Michael McCarlie, its founder, contributes every other Wednesday. SALT LAKE CITY — In a reminder to be slow to judge, Angela sent a story to anonymousthankyous.com about a time when life was good, and she looked down on others until kind strangers taught her to change:
"Years ago, life for my husband and I and our young, little family was great. We were driving from our home to a shopping mall and traveling on I-15 in Utah and passing the time by observing all the cars on the road with us. We had recently purchased our first car as a married couple and received no financial help from family members and felt pretty good in our Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer Edition.
"We were a little high and mighty about the nice leather we had, the premium sound system and the sunroof that afforded us a feeling of status. We commented on some cars as they drove by, or as we drove by them, mentioning qualities that each had that we either liked, or disliked.
"'I like that color,' or 'Ooh, check out the rims on that ride,' or 'what the heck are they thinking putting purple tint on that car?' were among some of the comments we made.
"One car specifically caught my eye as we passed it going about 30 miles an hour quicker than they were. 'Really? Doing 45 on the freeway? Why the heck would you buy that ridiculous Geo Metro in the first place, it's a pile of crap, couldn't they spend their $300 on something else?'
"Did I mention I was young and ignorant?
"We laughed and continued with our drive. Several miles down the freeway our car slowed down and I glanced over to my husband (who was driving) and said, 'why are you slowing down?' He mentioned the gas pedal wasn't responding and that he thought something may be going wrong with our fuel pump. He put the hazard lights on and coasted as far as he could along the side of the road, parked the car, popped the hood and got out. A couple minutes later, he came back to confirm that the fuel pump was faulty, and that he would either have to push it about a quarter mile to the next exit as I steered, or he would have to walk himself there leaving me with the baby while he called a tow truck.
"Before we could make our decision, a car pulled up behind to help my husband push. Four male adults got out of it and said they were on their way to the airport to make a flight but had time to help because they leave early for everything, since they have to drive so slowly. Guess what they were driving?
"Yep. A Geo Metro.
"I was humbled. It taught me a life long lesson about being non-judgmental. The very car I criticized pulled over to help. Lesson learned. Thank you to those men who took the time to help someone in need. I still hope they didn't miss their flight."