Kindness along the way

In the summer of 2004 I lived and worked in London. It was quite an adventure and something that I think back to quite often. I was thinking this morning as I walked to Starbucks about the hike that I took during the end of my summer. I hiked from the northern most point in England across the border region and into Scotland following St. Cuthbert's way. It was on a whim that I decided to do this hike and it was the first time that I had ever hiked for four days straight on my own. (for more about my hike, check out some of my older blogs about it)
On the third morning of my hike I had gotten a little turned around as I was coming down from the highest point on the hike. The trail had been rerouted due to a local rancher not allowing the trail to cut across his pastures any more. The detour was not as obvious as it could have been and I lost quite a bit of time trying to make sure that I was indeed headed in the right direction. On the other side of a valley I saw another group of hikers and felt confident that I was headed in the right direction. As I came to the point where I had seen them standing I saw the trail marker that I was indeed on the correct path. I continued on through a grove of trees. As I was walking through my pack shifted as I stepped over a fallen tree and I lost my balance. I reached out for something to steady myself and grab a tree of thorns. The entire stalk of the tree had thorns sticking out of it and I plunged my hand right in them. I looked at my hand to see how bad it was and I used a cloth that I had with me to absorb the blood. I didn't have anything that I could put on it, so I just kept walking. When I came out of the woods, I past by a home next to the road that I needed to take to get me to the next small town on my map. I sat down on the side of the road to have a sip of water and a piece of fruit. A moment later when I looked up from my water bottle I saw a small old woman walking toward me from the house. She motioned for me to come with her and asked if I had had lunch yet. I set my pack in their entry way and was introduced to her husband who I found out had spotted me from their living room as I walked by. I chatted with him for ten minutes before his wife reemerged from the kitchen with a tall glass of juice and a ham and cheese sandwich. I found out that they had been retired for six years and their hobby was counting the number of hikers that walked past their window everyday. They had meet people from over 50 countries, but I was the first Texan they'd meet. And that summer there had been 450 more hikers than there had been the year before the man told me as he looked at his record book. Before I got back to my hike, the wife gave me some salve for my hand and a bandage to keep it clean. Just spending twenty minutes with this kind old couple got me reenergized to get back out on the trail and to forget about the bumps that I had had along the way. I took down their name and address and sent them a post card from Texas when I got home. So go do a random act of kindness today, you never know how much it might mean to someone.