Why My Great Grandpa’s Fall Is One of My Favorite Memories

I just read a wonderful story about a stranger who became a friend by helping a mother struggling to clean up her lovely child after he had an accident at Walmart. I would like to share my story, too.


My family all lives in Ogallala, Nebraska. Our population runs about 5,000, and I can honestly say this is one of the best hometowns to have. If you’ve ever meet a Nebraskan, they can tell you that we are friendly, neighborly, Husker-loving individuals who aren’t afraid to stop and help someone in need.

Less than a year ago my Great-Grandpa Al became ill. He’d been battling bone cancer and had fallen and broke his hip. Grandpa and his daughter, my grandmother Maria, who likes to be called “Nana,” decided it would be best if he stayed with her until he was healthy enough to go back home.

Nana is in her mid-50s and uses a cane to get around, so you can see the potential problem. I usually assisted them to the doctor’s office, helped deliver checks to pay the bills and was generally the first response team when someone had fallen. I loved spending extra time with Nana and Grandpa when I could, but just like any other college freshman, I had to get a job to pay for classes and living expenses. I couldn’t always be around to help them out in sticky situations.

One day last summer, it was time for one of Grandpa’s checkups. I was at work so I couldn’t come over to help them to the office. Nana has to hold the doors open for Grandpa while he does his best to make it out the door with his walker. There’s one step to get from the door to the ground; this step was always the hardest part of getting Grandpa to the car. Without someone there to spot him, he lost his balance and fell into the grass. Nana immediately stepped out to help him, but she also fell into the grass.

They were unable to get up. Nana’s first instinct was to grab her phone to call me, but at the time she didn’t have my work number. Before she could think of someone else to call, the neighbor across the street was right there to help. He was outside mowing his lawn when he noticed them on the ground. He helped them back up, got them to the car and didn’t leave until they were out of the driveway.

Our family is so thankful that God had sent such a wonderful guardian angel in the form of their neighbor, who was also my former employer. We still keep in touch now and again. His son and my previous step dad where wrestling buddies, and his eldest daughter and I worked together in his establishment. He is truly an inspiration.

Grandpa Al passed away at the end of August, and I will always cherish the memories I have. Everything from road trips to visit my dad when I was young, to the last smile he gave me the night before his passing. This story is the best memory of them all and has inspired me to always stop and help someone who needs it. I’ve stopped my schedule to help my elderly neighbor shovel his sidewalk, pulled over to make sure a crying child was taken care of and will continue to do good — always keeping Grandpa Al and his guardian angel in my heart.

For all of February, The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment a stranger — or someone you don’t know very well — showed you or a loved one incredible love. No gesture is too small! If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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