Sitting in a Starbucks parking lot, I was talking on the phone with my Dad back in Texas. As I told him the story of what two men had done for our family the night before my Dad said, “Wow! I’m glad you told me that story. What those two men did really encourages me.”
Here’s hoping last Thursday night’s experience will encourage you this Christmas season:
We were ending a fun-filled day at Disneyland. Around 9:00pm we dragged our tired bodies back to the large parking garage and discovered that our Suburban battery was dead. Ugh! I had no idea we’d spend the next 3 hours in that parking garage.
Fortunately, Disney offers an auto-club service (which doubles as security) and they arrived in a few minutes. Unfortunately, the battery was so dead that Tom (auto-service/security man) was unable to fix our problem. After working tirelessly (2 hours) to revive our battery, Tom gave up and called a tow truck service.
I asked Tom (a grandfather possessing an easy smile and the gift of gab), “What time do you get off work tonight?” Tom asked, “What time is it?” “It’s 11:05pm”, I said. “Oops!”, Tom said with a smile. “I’m already off but I can’t just leave you here.” So Tom stayed . . . for another hour.
By this time, Ginger and all four of our kids were asleep in the suburban, we were a two-hour drive from home, and there was no indication that this night would end well or anytime soon.
While waiting on the tow truck a young couple, returning from the now closed park, walked by our suburban. Noticing the raised hood and my family sleeping in the suburban, the man asked, “Is it the battery?” Followed by, “Mind if I take a look?” He removed his jacket and within minutes his hands were maneuvering tools, covered with grease, and battery & jumper cables were going everywhere. Eventually, with his wife waiting patiently in their car, he said, “Give that a try”. To our amazement the engine started! Ginger and I made eye contact and smiled broadly as if we’d just experienced the miracle of the first Christmas.
I thanked Tom and and the other man (still a complete stranger) who caught me a bit off guard by asking, “Do you mind if I pray with you before you go?” I eloquently said, “Um . . . sure.” He asked God to allow us to make it home and to protect our family as we traveled. I humbly thanked this kind stranger and Tom and then loaded my exhausted body into the suburban to make the drive home. It was now after midnight.
As I began to drive away I noticed our rescuer had pulled over in front of us and he flagged me down. He handed me a yellow note and said, “Here’s my cell number. If your battery isn’t working your suburban could be running off the alternator. There’s a small chance it could die as you drive home tonight. If that happens call a tow truck and then call me and I’ll give you and you’re family a ride home to Ventura. Okay?”
I rolled up my window and Ginger & I looked at each other like two people do when they are overwhelmed with someone’s generosity.
We made it home without incident.
The next morning I uploaded this man’s phone number. Since I didn’t know his name I listed his contact name as “Good Samaritan”. Then I noticed that he had scribbled his name on the note: Bobby. So I texted Bobby to thank him and told him I was an “inspired pastor”. Bobby responded:
“Mark, thank you for the kind words . . . May the Holy Spirit work through you in Ventura to impact people’s lives. I know your new to the area but if you ever need anything (maybe prayer), don’t hesitate to ask. Two hours is a breeze drive! 🙂 Merry Christmas Mark. Keep in touch. Bobby”
I told my Dad that I was reminded that God’s kindness should lead me to repentance (Rom 2:4). I told my Dad that I wanted to live my life in such a way that I would be listed as a “Good Samaritan” in someone’s phone.
Dad said Bobby is simply living his life the way Christ intended all of us to live. Dad quoted Matt. 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Here’s hoping we will all live our lives in such a way that others will be able to call us their “Good Samaritan” in 2013.