I kept putting off getting my DEQ inspection. It’s out of my way and just hadn’t fit into my schedule. But time was running out. I had a day off today and was determined to get it taken care of. I realized it might be fun. Surely there would be someone there who could use $100!

Right this way

First you have to line up to pass a little booth where they check that your papers are in order. There were quite a few cars in line and it took a few minutes. One car pulled in behind me and I was scoping out the driver in my rearview mirror.

I got up to the booth and was assisted by a friendly and professional Oregon State employee. She stamped my papers and told me to pull into aisle number four. As I did, the car behind me passed and I saw that it was a late model Mercedes sports car.  Nah.

From where I was sitting I could see a few other cars lined up, waiting to pull into the testing stations. There was an older Honda Civic in aisle 3 that caught my eye. The driver was a young-looking woman, her head bent down as she wrote something in a notebook. “Go!” I told myself.

I went up to the car and the woman rolled down the window. “Hi,” I said. “I need to pull forward,” she said, apologetically. I had a few seconds to do my thing. “I’m honoring my mom today,” I said. “She died last year. I have something I’d like to give you.”

“You have something to give me? Okay.” I put the bill in her hand just as the car in front of mine pulled into the station. “OK,” I said, “I need to pull forward, too.” “Thank you!” she shouted, as I ran back to my car.

I pulled my car forward then ran back to the Civic. I could see the woman from the booth watching us. People probably don’t run around like that every day. The woman said her name was Naomi and she had just lost her job. “You just don’t even know how hard it is right now financially. So thank you. So much,” she said. I told her a little about my journey and the blog. Then my turn came I had to run back to my car. “Why did you choose me?” she was asking, but I was already behind the wheel.


My car passed inspection and I paid for my new stickers. As I was finishing up, I saw Naomi at the cashier in the next aisle’s customer waiting booth. I felt we hadn’t quite finished our business so I stepped over. “I was just telling them all about it!” she said. The two employees in the booth were grinning from ear to ear and they both gave me a high five. “You rock!” said one. “We’re almost crying in here!”

I saw Naomi in the booth. I didn't notice the sign above her head.

I told Naomi I was sorry that she had lost her job. “Yeah, I was a caregiver,” she said. “For an 89 year old woman with dementia.” I told Naomi my mom was 89 when she died, too. And how much her caregivers had done for her and how grateful I knew the woman and her family must have been.

She thanked me again and said she really loved that I was working to break old family patterns. Then a car was pulling in behind her and we had to say goodbye.

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14 Responses to Naomi at DEQ

  1. Ginny says:

    I know how hard it is to find a job now. I’ve been out of work for a while myself but I have my SS so I’m doing all right. I’m glad that you helped her out. You Rock!

  2. shaniqua says:

    Yes you ROCK!

  3. DJan says:

    I wonder too about the driver of the late-model Mercedes. Funny how I make judgments about people by what they drive. I myself drive a decade-old Honda Civic, so I’m in really good company, it seems.

    Making intuitive decisions like you are doing must feel very good on some level. I do it all the time but never thought about it until I started reading your posts.

    • Jill Ginsberg says:

      I find myself constantly making assumptions about people; it’s like a soundtrack in my head that I can’t turn off. I am learning to listen patiently without necessarily dancing to the music. Best to you! Jill

  4. Pru McDonald says:

    Obviously, your intuition works overtime, Jill, and that sign over Naomi’s head PROVES it!!! GREAT choice, dear lady! Pru

    • Jill Ginsberg says:

      Thank you, Pru! I could hardly believe it when I looked at that picture. Some things I just don’t see even when they are right in front of my face! I guess I am better at “seeing with my heart”, like the brave granddaughter from one of my earlier stories. Jill

  5. andrea gehrke says:

    I continue to be so inspired and encouraged by your story and with what you are doing. It makes me more aware of others when I am out in public. Your karmic connections never cease to amaze me.

  6. M. says:

    : ] its so awesome to look at that photo and see the help sign. sometimes its staring us in the face and we dont even notice.

    your goal is awesome.

  7. Nancy Bagby says:

    I read your story in the Oregonian this morning and how it has prompted a teacher at a local school to start a project for her students where they have to help others for seven weeks. Your story is so touching and beautiful! I’ve always been a tightwad with money, but the last few years I have loosened up, even though my husband is a retired Federal employee & I get some Social Security. There are so many wonderful organizations with volunteers that are reaching out to help others. But your story has really touched a lot of people, according to the Oregonian. I’m going to start reading your blog, including the past ones. Your mother must really be smiling down on you! You’re awesome!

  8. Deb says:

    found you via Oregon Live, and couldn’t be happier. What a *lovely* woman you are for doing this, and it is so nice to have something positive like this to read in a time of such downheartedness and rampant negativity.

    You inspire me to do nice things for other people. I do contribute to several charities and have helped kids on my street with school clothes, college text book costs, and I care for and feed a colony of feral cats. That has been a huge project that involved trapping, spaying & neutering 36 cats at my own cost!

    But you go ABOVE and beyond by far. You are amazing and inspiring. THANK YOU for helping my heart smile on a cloudy PNW day!

  9. Naomi says:

    Hi Jill. I wanted to thank you again for that gift and for the chain of events it has inspired. That was one rough day and you changed it with just a few minutes of your time, a smile, and with a “no strings attached” gift. It inspired me with generosity in my own life and I know that my mom was deeply affected and has started giving away a $100 bill a month to a stranger.
    Thank you!!!! Naomi
    P.S. When you saw me bent over writing in a notebook, I was calculating exactly how much money I had in the bank and how long I could make it last.

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