This came to us via a hospital physician from Idaho. It is our understanding that he knows the writer:
I was driving home from work last evening about 5:30 or so, inching along in traffic as usual. All of a sudden my car started to choke and sputter, and nothing I tried seemed to help at all. I coasted off the road and right into the driveway of a gas station, which unbelievably was in the perfect spot for me to make that maneuver. I was very glad I would not be blocking traffic and would have a sheltered spot to wait for a tow truck. Now I couldn’t even get the engine to turn over; my battery had decided to turn itself into a big paperweight.
Before I could make the tow call, I saw walking out of the convenience store a young woman who seemed to be wiping her nose or her eyes using her coat sleeve. I couldn’t see much of her face, but suddenly as she approached the pumps she slipped and fell.
Immediately I got out and went to check on her. When I got to her it seemed she had not really fallen, but instead was doing her best to cry into her coat sleeve so that no one would hear her. I guessed she had perhaps been overcome by sobs when from a distance it only looked like she had fallen. She was a young woman whose face looked extremely tired and haggard, and when she raised her eyes, they looked very puffy and red, and I could see dark circles under both of them.
As I helped her to her feet she dropped something which I bent down and picked up for her. It was a nickel. Suddenly things began to come into sharp focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient minivan crammed full of three small kids and all their miscellaneous stuff, and the gas pump which showed $4.95 as the last purchase.
When I asked her if she was okay, all I got back was “I don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stayed on the opposite side of the pumps from her minivan. She said things had gotten very hard for her of late, and that she was driving to California to visit her parents. I said “I knew you were crying, but I thought I also heard a prayer in there somewhere. Were you asking God for help?”
She focused her eyes on mine very quickly and held them there for several seconds before lowering them. All I thought to say to her was, “Well, He heard you, and it looks like He sent me.”
I took out my wallet and got my debit card, swiping it through the reader on the pump so she could fill up her van. Then while the pump was running I went inside the store to fill a couple of bags with sandwiches and snacks and milk and some water. I made sure to include some cookies and a package of cupcakes, too, and I got the troubled mom a large coffee. At the check-out I asked the cashier for a gift card so they could fill up again, then I took it all out to the pumps where the van was just showing full.
As I gave her the coffee and bags of food, she received them with the most grateful silent smile I had ever seen. Her kids attacked the food as soon as she handed it inside the van.
She told me her husband had left suddenly and that things went rapidly downhill from there. With no money on hand to cover rent or other expenses, she had finally gotten desperate enough to call her parents in California to ask if she could come for an extended but temporary visit. She told me she’d had no idea how far they could get with the little money she had and what was in the gas tank, but they had loaded the van and started out.
She had told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, leaving out the part about not coming back to their home. She said she hadn’t wanted to add any more right then to the burdens of no dad, sad mom, and having to miss meals far too often because there was nothing in the kitchen cupboards.
All I could think to do was give her my gloves and a small hug. Then I said “Let’s say a quick prayer before you get back on the road.” I asked God to please watch over them every minute all the way to her parents’ house, and to please stay especially close to her three children. Then I asked God to please make sure their future was going to fit exactly into His will for them, and we both said “Amen.”
As I turned to walk to my car, she said “So, are you like an angel or something?” All I could say in return was, “Well, sometimes when the angels get really busy, God just has to use regular people. Guess it was my turn tonight. Be sure you don’t forget to thank Him, okay?”
I felt as though my feet were not even touching the ground as I realized I had been able to be a part of the miracle that little family desperately needed right as my vehicle stalled. Then, when I got in the car, I turned the key and it started up like it always did, no hesitation at all. Wow, I thought. I got home with no problems, of course, and the car if anything is running better now than before, unless I’m imagining things. (I was tempted to ask God to double my mileage, but I decided to just ask to be part of another miracle soon. That’s more than enough.)
It’s an awesome feeling to know that the God who loves us so much is right there at arm’s length every time we need Him to be. He took care of the entire situation, start to finish, for me and for that desperate little family.
NORM ‘n’ AL Note: For another awesome true story about the God who loves us, please visit WHOFIRST.COM and click on “Amazing True Story” on the menu…
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis