“Samaritan” A Short Story

An ancient parable retold.

Elijah Nix

More stories from Elijah Nix


Elijah Nix

An ancient parable retold.

Addison tapped on the steering wheel rhythmically as a Lo-Fi beat gently buzzed the car with its soothing bass and percussion. Heat warmed the car from the front vents, keeping Addison cozy from the sharp winter wind outside. A large blue and white sign along with the voice of Google Maps informed him that he had passed from Tennessee into Kentucky. He glanced at his phone. 

Only four-and-a-half hours to go. 

Addison had been spending his winter break with his family down in Atlanta, a nice break from the rigorous and prestigious culture at Wash U. He was currently studying chemistry, and it wasn’t easy. Of course, Wash U wasn’t the place to go for an easy degree. Addison knew that. That’s why he applied. 

Addison was very sharp and very rigid, which made him a joy to be around. People discovered quickly that Addison was much like a muscle. Sealed shut and very happy to be left at the bottom of the ocean. He didn’t have many friends, and that was perfectly fine with him. 

Even so, there was a type of social energy that would well up in him from time to time that required some sort of release. This, paired with his incredibly strong philosophical convictions and Wash U’s very liberal community, led to his occasional participation in an assortment of protests and rallies. He had the bumper stickers on his car to prove it. 

Addison looked at his dash. Eighty-five miles per hour. The speed limit was seventy-five. 

Addison was proud of the stickers that decorated his rear-view mirror and bumper, but it was much easier to be proud of them when surrounded by like-minded people, and unfortunately on this drive, that was not the case. Only a few hours ago, Addison had stopped at a gas station to fill up his gas tank. While there, he went inside to use the restroom. After he returned to the driver’s seat of his car, he noticed smudges on the rear-view mirror, and stepped out of his car again to investigate them.  

When he reached the back of the car, he scowled at a very tasteless “FUCK LIBS” written in finger on the frosty window along with a “LET’S GO BRANDON” sticker placed at the window’s corner attempting to cover the Black Lives Matter and the trans flag stickers. 

Furious, Addison thoroughly wiped the message away with his sweatshirt sleeve, and–with some difficulty–tore off the sticker, leaving a rectangle of adhesive in its place. He wanted to clean it all the way off, but he figured he might as well just do it when he got back to St. Louis.

The sun was beginning to lean west in the sky as the Kentucky greenery along I-24 flew by. Addison looked at his phone. The Lo-Fi music had been replaced by a Mitski album and Addison began to hum along. Three hours left. 

The surrounding trees had vanished into a plain of grass, and Addison could now see around him in every direction. There wasn’t much to see apart from two other vehicles in front of him. One was a blue truck with a trailer rigged to the back, and the other was a minivan. Addison liked to note the license plates he saw as a way of passing the time, and he was close enough to see that both were Kentucky license plates. 

The plains continued to pass by normally as the cars winded along the interstate. There came in the highway a long, counterclockwise turn that revealed a longer horizon down the highway. On the horizon, there appeared to be an object on the shoulder of the interstate. A moment later, Addison perceived the figure of an overturned F-150. 

His heart sank. He began to fill up with fight-or-flight energy. He slowed his speed to about 60 miles per hour. 

“Shit. Shit. Shit!” he said to himself, “Surely someone’s gonna stop. Someone has to stop,” he said, hoping that a car in front of him would bear the responsibility. 

Alas, the two cars ahead simply passed the crashed truck, speeding up to do so. 

Addison had about 10 seconds to decide his next course of action. Every part of him wanted to simply continue forward. Surely someone after him would see the scene and–but it didn’t matter. Whether Addison liked it or not, he found himself braking and pulling over. He looked ahead and briefly watched as the two cars in front of him drove on, becoming small metal dots on the horizon. 

Addison jumped out of his car, enveloped by the sharp cold, looked both ways and cautiously speed-walked to the overturned vehicle. As he approached, he began to hear aching moans from inside the driver’s seat. 

“Hello?!” Addison called out nervously. 

The moaning continued. 

“Hello?! Can you hear me?!” Addison called out again. 

No answer. Only moans. 

Addison interlocked his fingers and gripped his hands around the back of his head as he anxiously paced back and forth. He looked at the truck and saw that one of the front tires had completely blown out and that most of the side windows had completely shattered when the vehicle barrel-rolled off the road. 

Addison took a deep breath, and an ounce of his sense returned to him. 

“I’m going to help you, okay!?” Addison announced as he ran back to his car. 

Addison opened the trunk and shuffled through his luggage to find an undershirt. Once he found one, he closed his suitcase and began searching for something that resembled a long stick. His electric scooter, folded in half, would have to do. 

He then ran back to the overturned vehicle and leaned down to the driver’s side window. 

“I’m going to get you out of here, okay?” 

For the first time, the person spoke. “Thayn ooo…” he said weakly. 

“Don’t mention it,” Addison said with a strain. 

Addison cautiously yet hurriedly chipped the remaining glass from out of the car’s window with his scooter and carefully reached for the seat belt buckle which held the man upside down in the truck. 

With a click, the man’s body slouched down against the roof. 

“O-okay, now I’m going to pull your arm out–I mean, I’m gonna pull you out of the car!” 

The man nodded. 

Addison, filled with trepidation, clenched his teeth and used both hands to heave the man through the broken window. The man’s groans grew more intense as his body inched with every tug out of the car. The man clearly suffered a severe blow to the head, which had caused blood to trickle down his face and body. Addison took special care to avoid contact with the fluid, though it still found its way onto his hands and forearms. 

The man’s body after many pulls, finally nudged its way free from the debris of the crash. 

Addison took a brief moment to catch his breath before he dashed back to his small car and ripped his phone out of the aux cable and finally dialed 9-1-1 into the keypad. 

As the phone rung, he stepped back towards the crashed man. 

“I’m calling an ambulance, okay?” Addison said anxiously. 

The man–who was still moaning in his uncomfortable position on the side of the highway–reacted negatively to this. 

“Nuh! Nuh!” he began to utter. 

“No?!” Addison said, “Why not?!” 

The line continued to ring. 

Tears began to stream down the man’s face now. The shock of the situation must have been catching up to him. 

“Um nuh uh weh-thy man,” he muttered with a sniff, “Uh don hah mo-ey foh uh ambulah.” 

The line rang continuously. 

“What do you want me to do, then!?” 

The man gazed at Addison’s car. Addison looked at him and winced. 

“I can’t… I mean, I don’t see why–” 

Finally, a voice sounded from the other end of the phone. 

“911, what is your emergency?” 

Addison rubbed his scalp fiercely in frustration. “Uh… hi,” Addison said into the receiver, “I’m on I-24 a few dozen miles into Kentucky from Tennessee. There was a guy in a truck who crashed, and…” 

Addison looked into the man’s pleading eyes. Addison sighed. “… and I’m driving him to a nearby hospital. My name is Addison Berk.” 

“Is the man conscious, sir,” the officer asked. 

“Yes, he is conscious, but he’s clearly suffered a head injury.” 

“Okay. Stay on the line. Are you currently driving?” 

“Not currently. We’re at–” Addison craned his neck to see the current mile marker which conveniently was positioned a stone’s throw away, “–mile sixty-three.” 

“Okay. Stay put. We are going to send an ambulance your way.” 

“Oh! No! That’s okay! I’m going to drive him,” Addison looked back and found that the man was now unconscious on the ground. 

“OH SHIT!” he shouted, “ER–I’m sorry. Um, er, the man seems to appear unconscious.” 

Addison tapped the man’s shoulder, “Hey! HEY! Wake Up! HEY!” he yelled.  

“Um, okay, yeah, the man isn’t responding anymore,” Addison shuddered as he paced with intense nervous energy and his elbows squeezing his torso. 

“Remain calm, ma’am,” the voice said, “an ambulance will be there shortly,” 


“Please stay on the line until EMS can take over.” 

“Okay,” Addison muttered powerlessly. 

Addison gritted his teeth. Why was this man willing to risk his life to avoid paying for an ambulance? 

Addison stepped towards the truck and glanced inside. Perhaps he was violating privacy, but at this point, he didn’t care. 

The truck was old and beat up. Scratches and dirt covered the exterior, and the design implied that it couldn’t have been anything newer than 2005. Addison walked to the back of the vehicle and saw a plethora of stickers. Initially, he was disgusted by the TRUMP 2024 sticker placed neatly at the bottom right corner. However, this irritation softened as Addison’s eyes moved around. Several pink ribbon stickers detailed the top of the rear window with the largest containing the words, “Fight like a girl!” 

At the bottom left, Addison saw a stick figure family. One tall male, one tall female, three shorter females, and a cat. Next to that was plastered a long, rectangular My child is an honor roll student at Jimmy Carter Junior High. 

Above that appeared the final sticker which read Good Shephard Transport and had a picture of three trucks each being driven by a sheep. 

“The ambulance is about a mile away,” the voice said. It had startled Addison, reminding him that a man was fighting for his life mere yards away. 

“Oh, uh, okay, thank you,” he responded. Addison stood. The man lay unconscious on the ground. 

Addison felt a prick of compassion stab his heart, which poured empathy into his body. 

Addison sighed and walked to his car. His wallet sat on the console. He pulled it out and looked at the stack of bills his rich aunt had gifted to him for Christmas. It was to be used for a new PC that Addison really could have used. 

“Fuck it,” he whispered through gritted teeth. Addison hit himself on the head with the wallet and pulled out a used but clean Ziplock bag from the floor of his car. He thumbed through ten one-hundred-dollar bills and stuffed them into the plastic bag. He then grabbed a pen and tore a piece of paper from a notebook in his glove compartment, and wrote, 

For the ambulance. –The guy who found you  

He then carefully opened the clip of the man’s breast pocket, placed the bag inside, and then clipped the pocket shut. 

Addison then stepped back with his fists clenched at his waist and his shoulders above his neck. 

In the distance, Addison began to hear sirens. He whipped his head around to see very distant red and blue flashing lights. 

Addison ran to the road and began waving his hands and jumping up and down. 

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