Borrowing Compassion: Pay Love Forward

National Headquarters  |  March 20, 2019

On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, when the care recipient left to get gas for her car, she didn’t know that the wildfire had already started. The fire was spreading at such a fast rate that the rescuers wouldn’t allow her to drive back into town. She along with many others were asked to step out of their cars and hide in a nearby shelter.

She tried to call her fiance to let him know, but there was no answer. To make matters worse, her phone’s battery was low. She quickly took three photos of the nearby buildings and sent them to her brother in Oklahoma.

She told her family that the rescuers had them all stay at the emergency shelter for the time being. The lady’s brother contacted the local TV station asking if they could tell the public that his sister along with many others were trapped in the shelter.

Many hours later, the firefighters came to their rescue and were able to escort them out of the building. When the recipient walked out, she realized that a group of firefighters were protecting their shelter so that they could all safely leave.

People got into their cars and followed the firefighters out of town. The firefighters had to remove obstacles on the road in order to allow cars through.

The care recipient remembered that the firefighters were from Redding, a nearby town. She intends to go there to personally thank them. She mentioned that to her the cash card was only a borrow, and intends to give it back sometime in the future.

The young man in the photo is this woman’s son. I asked him to read the blessing letter from Dharma Master Cheng Yen. When her son read the letter aloud, she was very touched.

“Can I hug you?” I asked her before she left. She then burst into tears, and told the volunteers, “Please don’t hug me, I will cry.”

“You should have this sentence on a shirt,” I joked in response. After she calmed down, she and her son each wrote down their wishes and hung them up high on the praying tree.

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