I was driving to collect my son the other night, and went past two figures running fast on the pavement. At first I thought they were runners; but then I saw that they were dressed for a night out. After a few moments' thought, I decided to stop and ask if they needed help.
"We're trying to catch the last train!" they said, out of breath.
I offered them a lift and they hopped in. A little later they spotted their friends on the pavement.
"These are our friends - you can let us out here!"
But as I did so, I heard the friends say, "Why did you get out of the car? You could have got there!"
As I drove off, I remembered that they had said they were trying to catch the 11:52pm. It was 11:49pm.
I thought about it. About whether there should be limits to my help, or whether I should keep helping until the job was done.
I stopped again around the corner. When they were level with me, exhausted, I opened my window.
"Listen, do run if you want, but if it's easier, just all get in and I can try to get you to the train."
They piled in (I think there were five of them), and we rushed to the station, getting there with two minutes to spare.
As they got out, they held out a can and asked if I wanted a beer. "I don't drink, but just do something nice for someone tomorrow!" I said.
"I love you!" shouted one of them as I drove away. I heard someone call me a guardian angel.
I can honestly say I gained several things that night, in just a few minutes. The adrenaline rush of a quest. The pleasure of being part of something. The happiness of something achieved. A sense of friendship. The feeling of generating goodwill and faith in human nature.
So if you see someone 'running for a train' - whatever form that train takes, and if you have time (we always do really), see what you can do to help them. You will gain from it somehow, I guarantee!