The strangest things can happen at a gas station.

      Yesterday I had to run some errands to prepare for a party we were throwing.  I threw the kids in the van (figuratively of course! I almost never throw the kids) and started off. I'd procrastinated on putting gas in the van for a couple reasons: 1)I don't like doing it. 2)I was trying to make it until pay day because gas is too expensive! Unfortunately, the gas station would have to be my first stop. As I stood at the pump waiting for my mammoth gas tank to fill up, I noticed a man ride into the parking lot on his bicycle. I was 99% sure he's homeless, and to be honest (although this sounds awful...because it is), he was barely a blip on my radar. I didn't give him another thought. That is...until I got back in the van and started putting things away, buckling my seat belt, going through my take-off check-list ;).  Because that's when he suddenly showed up about outside my window.
    He didn't even look at me. He quietly sifted through the top layer of debris in the trashcan beside the pump. For about a second I was genuinely stunned. I mean, I'm sitting at a very nice gas station in the nice section of town. Homes that I can't dream of affording are less than a mile away from me, and here's this man looking for breakfast in the trashcan that I just used to throw away some paper. He moved on to the next trashcan, and I turned to the kids expecting to have to offer some kind of explanation. They hadn't even noticed.
    Now what was I going to do? I was 30 seconds past the point of not noticing and had moved solidly into the box of "must do something now."   Believe it not, pushing myself into other people's lives isn't something that comes naturally to me so I took another half second to get over myself before tossing my stuff (literally not figuratively this time) to Mr. Logical and telling him, "Hold this and be quiet."  I then drove over to the man, rolled down my window, and said, "Excuse me, but can I buy you some breakfast?"  His look of shock would have been funny in just about any other situation. Unfortunately, the fact that the man looked so taken aback was a clear indicator that few people took the time to notice him, let alone offer help.  I asked again, and this time he was very nice and said no thank you.  Now it's my turn to be surprised. Really? He said no? So I tried again, but he smiled and said no thank you again.  Not what you expected to happen either, right? At this point, I'd done everything I could think to do so I said, "Oh, well...okay. If you're sure?" To which he replied, "Thank you so much, God bless you." Yep, definitely dismissed.
     Your first thought might be that this little encounter was a waste. A nice little anecdote, but a waste. However, I would disagree with you. Because as I started to pull away, another man at the nearby pump walked over and offered the man the same thing I had, and this time he accepted. I don't know why he told me no while accepting help from the next person. Maybe I asked wrong? Who knows. Whatever the reason, I'm fairly confidant that if I hadn't stopped and done what I did, the next person wouldn't have done anything either. I say this because I'd noticed the other man staring at me with his mouth literally gaping open in shock.  I suppose I started a sort of chain reaction. =) 
   Isn't this kind of how life is though? We do what we're led to do and leave the results up to God? That's how it hits me at least. We make the best decision we can with the information we've been given, then leave the results up to God. We won't even see the results of all that we do, but someone else will. So that was my big lesson for the week. Oh, and I really need to do something to raise my kids' awareness to the needs around them. Okay, those were my TWO big lessons for the week wrapped up in a three minute encounter. Who says learning should take seven hours a day?!


  1. hey Mindy! Top of the morning to you! I enjoyed this post..and your honesty!.. i have an idea for you that i saw on another could make some gallon size baggies filled w/ some essenntials...WATER..and put a tag on it that says Jesus is the Living Water...some granola bars..a $5 mcd's gift certificate..a small bible or some pictures your children have drawn with some favorite verses...some sunscreen..etc.. having this already to GIVE is easier for the receiver... think about the moment they have to accept your OFFER or your GIFT!! and your children are the perfect age for helping and understanding BRAVO for listening to HiM..i am certain you were the catalyst.. Much love to you Mindy!


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