Under normal circumstances, seeing a random stranger crying in public would cause many of us to give them a little space. Averting our stares or even pretending they aren’t crying is our way of giving them a small amount of privacy. But the way this man was dressed caused one woman to look harder at his situation, and that’s when she realized something heartbreaking.
So I was just on my way to work and I had to stop for gas so I allowed myself some extra time to get to work. When I pulled up to the pump I shut my car off and saw this middle aged man crying looking at the gas pump. I began to wonder what happened with this man and as I got out of my car and looked at him my heart felt like it stopped.
In Apple Valley, Minnesota it is 10 degrees and freezing cold with the wind. This man was wearing flip flops with socks covered in holes. I look I his car and see his wife in the front seat covering her face in her hands and the 2 teenage girls both of cuddling under a blanket in the back seat.
I didn’t even think and I went up to the man and said sir is something the matter? He looked at me and I could tell he was on the verge of giving up because he didn’t even try to conceal his tears when he said I can’t even provide for my family.
Without even thinking I put my card in his machine and tell him Jesus Christ the Son of God died to provide for you. Fill up. Something, something came alive in him. He was in shock and it was like he forgot how to pump gas.
In that same moment his wife got out of her car, she asked her husband what was going on and he told her I just payed for their gas she started to cry and came around the corner to shake my hand when I saw her pants dirty and torn. I asked her to come to my car.
The airport lost some of my luggage on my way to Minnesota from California and I had to clean out my closet to find stuff to wear and get rid of a lot of stuff – all of that stuff that I had yet to give away was siting in the back seat of the car and in the trunk. I opened up my car and told the lady to take what she wanted.
This lady RAN back to her car. I was so afraid I had just embarrassed her but a moment later her and her two girls were digging through those clothes layering my sweatshirts and shirts and sweat pants over the worn out clothes they had been wearing.
Soon the father had finished pumping the gas and came over. This attracted a little crowd at the gas station. And some older man gave the family a cub gift card and another middle aged man gave away his jacket to the father. Never in my life did I think I would see this kind of thing happen at a gas station with a handful of complete strangers.
But it gives me hope. That the love of God can be so contagious.That we are not alone in being the change we want to see in the world. That God’s love is greater than anything and we get to be a part of that love changing lives. And HE always provides!”
It wasn’t much, what she did for them. A tank of gas and a dozen pieces of old clothing that she was going to donate anyway were next to nothing to her, but they were everything to this family that had fallen on hard times. And seeing her kindness spurred these complete strangers to do what they could to help the family. Would anyone else have noticed this family, if she hadn’t noticed this man’s distress? This is a sweet story, but it’s also a lesson to pay more attention to the people around us. You never know when it may be you that needs a little extra help.
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