Summer of 2007 – High Five!
One evening in the summer of 2007, I went to the local supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner. As I walked toward the front canopy, I made eye contact with an older ragged looking man who had just finished speaking to another store patron. He smiled at me and started to speak to me as I approached closer.
The man asked if I was a local and whether I knew of any churches or other places in town that could “help a guy out.” He explained to me that he was driving through town on his way to another city a few hours east when he had some car trouble – maybe it was a flat tire. He stopped to change the flat or take a look at whatever the problem was, which required him to jack up the car. Apparently the jack didn’t hold and the car came down striking the man in his arm or hand.
He said that he made it to the local emergency room and they fixed him up and gave him a prescription that he was trying to get filled, but he had no money to pay for it. Before going any further, I thought as I was standing there that it sounded a little bit like a scam, and it very well may have been, but that isn’t the point.
He showed me the prescription he got, which looked legitimate. He had his arm in a sling. He told me that the pharmacy indicated the prescription would only cost $12 to fill, but he had no money. He did not ASK me for a dime. He simply asked if I knew of anyplace that could help him. I told him of a few agencies I knew of, but none of them are places where you can go in and get immediate assistance right now. The places I knew of were only open during restricted hours and there was a process to apply for assistance rather than receive an immediate handout.
I told the fellow that I wished I could help him more, but I rarely carry cash on me and pay with a debit card. He thanked me for my time and said he would go inside and talk to the pharmacist again to see if they could help at all. I went on my way to pick up the grocery items I came for.
In the back of the store, as I walked by the dairy section (usually one of the busiest places in the store), there was NOBODY around. As I walked past a floor cooler something caught my eye on the floor up ahead. Another step or two and I recognized it as a five dollar bill. There was nobody around giving any indication of who might have lost it, but it had to have just fallen because there is generally far too much traffic for it to just sit there right out in the open for more than 30 or 45 seconds without anyone snatching it up.
I reached down thinking this was my lucky day! An extra five dollars isn’t much, but every little bit helps. As soon as I touched it, but NOT UNTIL I touched it, I immediately thought of the ragged old man with his arm in a sling. I walked quickly up to the front of the store where the pharmacy is located.
When I got to the edge of the OTC medicine aisles, I saw the man. He was just walking away from the pharmacy window. I walked over and said to him, “I know you’re not going to believe this, but I just found this bill on the floor by the milk.” I suppose he probably thought that I had it in my pocket the entire time and only just decided to give it to him after more consideration of his story. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter what he thought. He simply smiled and thanked me and commented that he was almost half way there. I finished my shopping and went on my way home.
To this day, I don’t know if the guy was scamming or if he was legitimate, but I really don’t care either way. Was it a coincidence that the man talked to me without ever actually asking ME for money? Was it a coincidence that a five dollar bill was laying right in the middle of the floor in a typical high traffic area with nobody around? Was it a coincidence that I happened to find it?
I don’t believe there was any coincidence to it at all. Call me naïve or too trusting of people, but I believe I helped somebody that day even if just in a small way and I believe that God used me to help the ragged man. Read Mt 25:33-40
To the ragged old man, I say: Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart to Jesus and for reminding me that There are No Coincidences with God.