The universe offers a myriad of opportunities for random acts of kindness. When such a chance falls in our path, some choose to ignore it and keep on walking, while others rise to the occasion with grace and kindness.
Case in point: When Nova Scotia native Matthew Van De Riet unexpectedly found himself at the scene of an auto wreck on a lonely patch of highway, without hesitation, he stepped in to help.
Van De Riet was first alerted to the situation when he noticed a very distressed-looking dog standing by the side of the road. Kipper, a 10-year-old Basset Hound, and her canine companion Merlin, a 2-year-old shepherd, had been thrown from their owners’ vehicle by the impact of the crash.
After quickly securing the dogs, Van De Riet turned his attentions to the human passengers in the badly damaged vehicle. Though the car was flipped on its roof, both the driver and his girlfriend survived the accident.
As Van De Riet tended to them with his first-aid kit, he reached out to another passerby to call for emergency intervention. The medical personnel who arrived soon after determined the female passenger’s injuries, though not life-threatening, warranted her being airlifted to a nearby hospital for care.
Rather than leaving the driver and the dogs stranded, Van De Riet transferred the couple’s belongings and all their dog gear into his truck and drove the young man to the Halifax hospital where his girlfriend was being treated.
But for Van De Riet, the day’s random acts of kindness were far from finished.
With their owners new to the area and having no family close by, Van De Riet was left with the logistical problem of what to do with Kipper and Merlin. Again, without hesitation, he offered to keep the dogs until the couple was able to pick them up.
“I figured the least I could do was take those dogs home with me,” told CBC News. “I knew the pups were shaken up—and I know if somebody was in an accident and their loved one is hurt, the last thing they need to worry about is their dogs.”
Although both pooches appeared to be mostly okay, just to be on the safe side, Van De Riet brought them to a local animal hospital for evaluation. Following a checkup (donated free of charge due to the circumstances), the doggy duo was cleared to go and given pain medication to deal with any lingering effects of the accident.
After the vet visit, Van De Riet brought Merlin and Kipper home and let them get acquainted with his two miniature Doberman housemates. A long day filled with unforeseen events and random acts of kindness was followed by a quiet night of trust, safety, and security—and all thanks to the unsolicited help of a truly humble local hero.
Any arguments to the contrary aside, Van De Riet sees nothing particularly out of the ordinary about his willingness not only to aid a pair of total strangers in distress, but to go the extra mile to ensure their furry friends were safe as well.
“It was the least I could do. I would expect anyone in this province to do the same thing if they were in my shoes,” Van De Riet told CBC. “It just happened to be that I was the one that was there first, I guess. [I’m no] Good Samaritan… It’s just the Nova Scotia way.”
While we can only hope everyone in Nova Scotia shares this unselfish outlook on life, we’d certainly like to send out a sincere thank you to Mr. Van De Riet’s parents for raising such a truly thoughtful and compassionate son.