Giving a Helping Hand

A short story about giving this holiday season

Kendell Gordon, Staff Writer

“His fever isn’t going down, why is this happening? I should’ve noticed this sooner…” 

Eliza is a single mother driving her sick son Oliver through a blistering snowstorm. Not only is it hard to see and navigate, but the four inches of snow was also making it nearly impossible to move properly. There were snowmen barely standing along the streets and lakes frozen over. 

So, how did they end up here? 

It all started only a couple of hours prior on Christmas Eve. During that time the weather seemed clear and although the car was an old jeep, it was reliable to make the drive. They were preparing on their path to Eliza’s parents for the week, gathering the essentials from their apartment. As Eliza was gathering everything, she noticed the once energetic and playful Oliver was quietly playing on his Nintendo. 

Eliza made a frown and asked “Hey sport, you doing okay? You are awfully quieter than usual.” 

Oliver responded with a nod and continued to play. Eliza chalked it up to him focusing on his game and resumed packing the last of their luggage. Oliver sat in the front seat, ready for the drive. 

 “Mommy, how long will this take to get to grandma and grandpa’s house?” 

Eliza responded, “a couple of hours at best, if you get sleepy go ahead and rest. I know you feel like you should stay up but let mommy handle the tough part okay?”

 “All right, you got this!” They high-fived each other and the treacherous drive on the highway began. The first hour or two had no issues, a few bumps here and there but nothing too serious. At one point, Eliza noticed that Oliver was breathing heavily, he was covered head to toe with winter gear, but he was shaking like a leaf. She tried waking him up, but there was little response from him. Eliza was getting nervous; Oliver’s fever was severe and he needed to get to a hospital soon. She took the nearest exit and changed the GPS to go to the nearest hospital. As if to be tested for her determination, the snow started to pick up, the snow was rising, and the visibility was getting harder to see through. Eliza unknowingly entered a snowstorm, with no end in sight. 

“Damn it! Why now?!”

Eliza was fully freaking out now. If she kept going, there was a chance the car would get stuck. On the other hand, if she did not get medical attention for Oliver, he might die. Eliza’s motherly instincts chose the obvious choice and pushed through the snow. The nearest hospital was about 10-15 miles away but Eliza was determined. However, fate was not kind to her.. One severe bump and the car was stuck. 

“No, no, no, no, no, no! Come on you piece of junk MOVE!”

No matter how hard she tried, the jeep would not budge. Eliza slammed her fist on the dashboard frustrated and looked over to her son. He did not look good whatsoever, breathing heavier, on the verge of vomiting, and sweating profusely. She took off her jacket and put a warm blanket over him. 

“Stay with me sweetie, stay strong! We’ll get help soon okay?” 

Those words of encouragement were meant for him as well as herself. She had no idea what to do until she heard a sudden knock on her driver’s side window. Startled, Eliza turned and saw a man in his 30’s assessing the situation. 

Before she could say anything, the man said, “I’m going to put a jacket on the back of your tire and push your car, I’ll give you the signal to drive. Once you start moving, don’t look back and get your son to the hospital okay?”

Eliza, on the verge of tears, nodded and proceeded with the plan. With three good pushes, the man was able to get the car moving again. Eliza wanted to cry tears of  joy but knew she had to remain focused. After 10 minutes, Eliza finally reached the hospital and carried Oliver into the emergency room. She was relieved to know that even in the darkest of times, there are always those who are willing to help. Maybe the holidays bring out the good in people after all.