Charity on the Interstate

Monday, August 1, 2011

I stood on the side of the interstate, holding my two year old and clutching my four year old's hands. My dress stuck to me, and the boys' cheeks were flushed. Inside the car, my husband dripped with sweat as he tried to start the engine. Before it stopped, the dashboard told us that the outside temperature was 106 degrees.

Cars and trucks flashed by, creating a hot breeze. I worked my phone with one hand, while my husband did the same. Big Guy bounced up and down, "Is a tow truck coming? Is a tow truck coming?"

I didn't know.

A possible re-start, dead again. We were an hour and a half from home and three hours from our destination. People at either end were preparing to drop everything to come get us . . .

Sweat rolled into my eyes and my sandaled feet burned in the sun. The grass made me itch, and I tried not to think about what might be lurking in it. Instead, I thought about how being an adult can sometimes stink, and how in the world are we going to get out of this mess?

Suddenly, a Wal-Mart truck pulled over. Yes, a Wal-Mart truck. A man got out of the huge eighteen wheeler and walked toward us.

"Whatever he says, don't get in the cab with him," my husband warned.

He approached with a smile, "I saw a lady and two kids out here and couldn't drive by. What seems to be the problem?"

I notice his badge: Jon. Jon helped us figure out why the unfamiliar, borrowed vehicle had stopped. He coached my husband through a multi step process, and after many attempts, it worked! We jumped back into our seats and I rushed to secure the boys before it died again. An exit with a gas station was in sight.

The engine sputtered, sputtered, purred, sputtered, and died again. Jon was already back in his truck, pulling away. We sighed. Then he stopped, backed up, and came to our rescue, again.

We thanked Jon profusely and told him he would be in our prayers. He said it was no problem. We drove to the gas station, and after multiple phone consultations, we decided that it was safe to continue towards our destination. We got cool drinks and gathered ourselves.

As my husband was getting back in the car, a middle aged man approached. He looked distraught, weepy. He said, "I've never done this before, but I'm so upset. I'm from Charleston, and I was just out mowing my yard when my mom called to say my dad died in Spartanburg. I dropped everything. I jumped in my car to drive up there, and I can't believe it . . . I just pulled in here and realized I forgot my wallet. Is there any way you could help me?"

How could we say no? We had just been helped by a generous stranger. There was no hesitation, "Of course," we said.

"What do you need?" my husband asked. "Gas?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Drive you car to a pump and I'll come swipe my card." The man walked away. He got in his car and drove toward the pumps. Then he drove away.

We stared after him, not understanding and then - of course - understanding. He didn't need gas; he wanted our cash. There was dead father and there was no forgotten wallet.

In one hot hour, we experienced both ends of the charity spectrum. We received angelic help from Jon, then we were almost scammed by a nameless stranger. I thought about that for the rest of our drive and how you just never know . . . I wondered about the stranger and his story. I wondered about Jon. I wondered about the timing of everything and how, because of the crazy heat, we just had two unexpected encounters. I thought about how God works, and His hand in everything. He made so many different types of people in this world. I thought about how He loves us all.

I came to this conclusion: Both men deserve prayers.

What do you think?

On Monday, linking with:
because this happened during a weekend and I think that counts :)

On Tuesday, linking with:

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16 Responses to “Charity on the Interstate”

  1. Absolutely! So amazing how God brought those two encounters forth. Praying God would meet "the stranger" and bring forth the help he needs.

  2. My heart went out to you when you said 106 degrees with a two year old. (I have a two year old son too) I'm so glad God provided for you ... and you were able to minister to someone else. You wrote it beautifully ...   

  3. WOW ..what an ordeal!! Perhaps God has to delay you just long enough to bless this man trying to get to his mother. Perhaps because you were just blesses, to refuse blessing another seemed unconscionable. Perhaps you would have been the only ones to hear and not ignore the need. God works awesome!

  4. Thanks for sharing this amazing story

  5. Thank God for his angels all over the world!  Many still sweetly sing in His heavenly chorus and help mere mortals with car trouble; some have fallen... but yes, I think He loves us all.  I'm grateful still for one named Phil who helped Duff and me so many years ago in our hour of need, and now one named Jon who helped you four precious souls!

  6. I agree - I hope he gets the help he needs.

  7. Oh wow, I was right there on the edge of that highway with you, sweating, irritable, worried. What great writing! And what an angel that Wal-Mart truck driver was. I would have been all suspicious and on guard...and it turns out he's a servant of you were for the grieving man at the gaspump. Wow. This story really got to me. Thank you for sharing it today!

  8. I see how God has protected you throughout the entire journey.  What a testament to His provision -- giving help and keeping away harm!  Wonderful writing, wonderful story, a wonderful God.  And, I'm here even before you linked up to SDG!

  9. This is such a good lesson!  I'm glad you offered to help the man even if he wasn't on the up and up.  We never know when we entertain angels unaware...

  10. Thank God for Angels among us.  I am so glad he stopped for you.  And then to be potentially scammed.  What a day.  I bet you slept good that night.  God is good even in the 106 degree heat.  I am just glad you are ok!!!!  And yes both men need prayer! 

  11. Loving this. You going to let me repost it some time? Puuuhleeeease?

  12. That is a great story . . . so glad you found help. And yes, both men deserve prayer.


  13. Of course!  Just let me know when you want to - I'd be honored.

  14. I needed to read this. Both scenarios have had me question and ask. God answered through your words. Both need prayer. In all scenarios of life, both need my prayers. 

    Thank you.

  15. In all things He is sovereign.

  16. I love how God watched over you in both situations and yes they both need prayers.  :)