Dustin heard the phone ring. Then he heard his father talking. He glanced at the clock. It was two o’clock in the morning!
He knocked on his parents’ bedroom door.
“Is something wrong?” Dustin asked.
“A man and his wife were in a car accident and are stranded a few hours away,” Dad said, buttoning his shirt. “I’m going to pick them up and bring them here.”
Dustin’s dad was a bishop in the small desert town where they lived. Over the years, he had brought home many stranded travelers.
“Are they all right?” Mom asked.
“Shaken up, but otherwise OK,” Dad said.
“I’ll make sandwiches,” Mom said. “They’re probably hungry.”
Dustin helped Mom make sandwiches and fill a thermos with hot chocolate.
“Can I go with you, Dad?” Dustin asked.
“Sure—I’d enjoy your company, it’s Saturday, and you’re old enough to come,” Dad said.
Dustin smiled and headed for the car. His dad’s words made him feel important.
Hours later, they found the couple on the side of the freeway.
“We’re the Whitneys,” the young man said as he and his wife climbed into the back seat of the station wagon. Dustin smiled and handed them the bag of food.
“Thank you. We haven’t eaten since noon,” Brother Whitney said.
Dustin fell asleep on the way home. When Dad gently shook him awake, the sky was just turning pink.
Mom fixed breakfast for everyone, then sent the couple to Dustin’s brother’s bedroom for a nap. “I’ve put clean sheets on the bed. There are fresh towels in the bathroom.”
Sister Whitney hugged Dustin’s mother. “Thank you so much. All of you.”
A few hours later, Brother Whitney wandered out of the bedroom. “My wife is still sleeping. I guess I need to call a tow truck.”
“It’s already taken care of,” Dustin’s father said. “I have a friend who works in a garage. He towed your car to his shop and is working on it now.”
“I don’t know how to thank you,” Brother Whitney said.
Dustin’s father smiled. “You just did.”
That afternoon, Dustin went with Dad to take the Whitneys to pick up their car.
“We’ll never forget what you did,” Brother Whitney said. He pulled some money out of his pocket.
Dad shook his head. “We don’t take money for helping someone in need.”
“At least let us pay you for the gas,” Brother Whitney said.
Again, Dustin’s father shook his head. “You may need it for the rest of your trip.”
Brother Whitney looked uncomfortable. “I don’t feel right not giving you anything in return for all you’ve done for us.”
“Help someone else when you can,” Dad said. “That’s the only thing I want in return.”
On the way home, Dustin looked at his father. He knew Dad hadn’t had any sleep. “You must be tired.”
His father smiled around a yawn. “A little.”
Dustin knew that was as much as his father would say about helping the couple. He never said much about helping others. He just did it.
“Watch your dad. … Watch how he performs his Church callings. Watch how he interacts with other people. You will be surprised what you learn about him just by watching him and listening to him.”1
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship,” Ensign, November 2009, 47.