Three years ago I bought a small pick-up truck. At the time, I was building cornhole boards and doing DIY projects on my home. So, I figured a truck would come in handy hauling stuff for those two ventures, and it would also allow me to help other people.
Well today my little pick-up truck was the reason I entertained an angel.
While filling up at a Shell station in Homewood, Alabama, I saw a very nervous Asian woman pulling up to ask me a question. My mind quickly flashed to Dateline, Unsolved Mysteries, and all the shows where people go missing. She needed help putting air in her back tire. She said, “I figured since you drive a truck, you must be handy.” Hmmmmmmm. Well, there is one thing, actually two things I love to attempt to be and that is handy and helpful. After looking the parking lot over to make sure she was not in cahoots with anyone and saying a quick prayer (Dear Lord, I’m about to get to help someone, please watch over me while I do it), I told her to pull over to the air pump.
My daddy, whose birthday is today, gave me a handy dandy tire gauge that I always carry in my glove box. After retrieving it, I stood and waited patiently in below freezing temperatures (very cold for the South) as she backed her older model SUV into the space by the air pump. As she backed up, I looked over the parking lot again, peered through her glass to make sure no one was in the back, and sized her up. She was 5’5″ with a small frame. I was feeling pretty confident, since I had about four inches and twenty-five pounds on her.
Inside the driver’s door is a sticker that indicates the PSI for the tires. I pointed that out to her, and we looked at it together. Her kindness was evident. She was no Boogie woman. She was a humble worker who has been doing medical research at UAB for 20 years. Her husband was out of town caring for parents, and she just needed a little help. Using my tire gauge, we went to each tire together and chatted, and she thanked me repeatedly. One tire was pretty low. She didn’t have change, so she hustled into the store to get quarters. Her respect for my time was quite refreshing actually, since I work with middle schoolers still developing their sense of urgency. I checked my surroundings again while she went in the store, and then watched as she quickly ran back over to me.
When we were through, she wanted to pay me or buy me something from the store. I told her “No, we do this” as I shook her hand. Then she hugged me. I am okay with hugs. I’m a hugger. She was still insisting on paying me. I’m not sure why I said what I said next. It just came out. I told her “Someday, we’ll meet again”. At that moment a verse popped into my mind, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
As I drove off, I thought she would immediately get in her SUV as cold as it was. In my rearview mirror I saw her standing there staring at my little truck. Other than her mouth moving, she did not move a muscle until I was out of her sight. I’m not sure what she was saying. I was just thankful she was no longer nervous or frightened. She looked peaceful like an angel.
Here’s what I learned again today:
- Watch fewer shows where people get hurt/taken
- Make sure people know how much I appreciate them – it felt really good to be appreciated
- Be respectful of other people’s time
- Handy people drive trucks and meet angels