Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kindness repayed?

My friend John told me this story of coincidence and how it can change things. Maybe.


John was from New York City, where his parents still lived, but at the time he was working in Washington, DC and lived in Virginia. The rush hour going home each day was a hassle, with several lanes of traffic headed out of the capitol city. This day there was a car pulled onto the wide median, obviously broken down. Four men stood around it. This was in the days before cell phones, and calling for help was much harder than it is today.


Although it was against his usual habits, John pulled off onto the median behind the disabled vehicle. He said that he had never done that before. He offered to take one of the men to the next off ramp and find a telephone to call a tow truck. (Aren't you glad we have cell phones now?) They did just that, and on the way back to the broken down car, John asked where they were from.


"We're from Acme Company (not the real name)," the man answered.  "We're here from New York City."


"What do you know!" John said. "My father lives in New York City and works for Acme!"


"Acme has two offices," the man replied. "One in New York City and one in Washington, DC. We have to close one of them, and we are visiting both, trying to decide which one. It's a hard decision."


By then they were back to the disabled automobile, where they parted company. A couple of days later it was announced that Acme was closing the Washington office. John's father kept his job.


If John had not stopped to help the stranded motorists, would the result have been the same? Or was John's kindness the little nudge it took to make the decision? If he had passed on by, would the choice been different? Or did those guys say, "You know, it's so hard to pick which location to close, and that man was so nice to stop and help, let's let his father keep his job." ? Or what if John had driven by that spot an hour earlier, or an hour later?  But he didn't.


Coincidence. God's way of remaining anonymous. Or maybe a test.



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