While attempting to get to a friend’s home in Naperville, the GPS continually directed me toward a street that was closed for repair. Driving around and around, I finally stopped at a home where a man was tending to his landscaping endeavors. I expressed my frustration and asked for directions. 

Knowing his neighborhood, he said, “Follow me.” He proceeded to mount his motorcycle and began the hunt for my requested location. I followed him as instructed. Around and around we drove, and we eventually reached my destination.

Sheepishly I pulled a $20 bill from my wallet. I knew he would refuse any money, so I said, “Donate it to a charity.” His response, “No, you donate it.” 

Here is more of what makes this story so remarkable and poignant. His comment to me was, “I just sold my company for $15 million dollars. I am a simple man. You made my day. With my undying gratitude, I aim to pay it forward.”

I sat in my car absolutely flabbergasted. Did I just dream this experience? Is it possible that he actually took me where I was expected to arrive? Did he say I made his day? Did he acknowledge his wealth and his thankfulness?

It has been 24 hours since this encounter and I continue to be astounded. I have already shared this story with a multitude of family members and friends. I choose now to share it with my community.

Barbara E. Silvestri, North Riverside