I’m going to share a story with you today I’ve been hesitant to write. Please know my heart is not to “toot my horn,” but to hopefully inspire you. I keep feeling prompted to share this, so here goes…
I had been wanting to pinstripe my car for over a year and finally decided around Christmas to have it done. I take it and leave it with the shop, go back to pick it up hours later, and it isn’t done. The man tells me he wasn’t sure what I wanted and didn’t have my number to call. (We had discussed it and he did have my number.) I answer his questions and we reschedule for Monday, December 23 and I take it back. Later I go to pick it up and it looks great. About 2 blocks away, I stop at a red light behind a super-nice, tricked-out Jeep. Suddenly his reverse lights come on and he backs up—fast … as the big ole Wrangler spare goes right into my hood … of the car I had just had pinstriped, after leaving it for the second time. (Just making sure you’re keeping up.)
In a bit of shock, trying to figure out why he did that, the man gets out of his Jeep, walks back, looks at my car, and immediately admits fault and starts apologizing.
I ask him to pull over into a gas station. He explains that he thought he was too far out in the intersection and just threw the Jeep into reverse without looking back. Because he was so apologetic and offering to take care of things, I just calmly complied. I noticed a young man with him, in his 20s, got out, and just watched.
We traded cell numbers, he gave me his info, I told him I wished we had met under better circumstances, and he drove away.
When I got back in my car, this is exactly what I said … out loud … “Okay, God, You know what just took place. If my car had been done last week, when it was supposed to, this wouldn’t have occurred. There has to be reason for this. Can I please see it?” To be clear, I still wasn’t upset, just asking the Father “what’s up”?
I went straight to a body shop (where I know the owner) and got a quote. I texted the man and told him the damage. He texted back and asked if I would meet him there the next morning and he would pay cash for it, but he wanted to see me. I agreed.
Next day (Christmas Eve), I drive up, and he’s already there. He walks right up to me and asks, “Are you a Christian?” I said, “Yes, I am. I’ve been in ministry for many years.” He said, “I knew it. I want you to know my son had just come in for Christmas and he’s been struggling in his faith the past year. When we talked with you and got back in the Jeep, I used you as an example of a man being kind and forgiving. You never got mad and treated me with respect, when I’m sure you had to be ticked your car just got damaged. He then insisted I take $200 for my trouble. I tried to dismiss it, but he wouldn’t hear of it. … (The $200 was twice what my pinstripes cost.) He paid the body shop owner, told me to call him if anything was needed, thanked me again, and drove off.
What’s funny is, after that, when I looked at my car or today, think of the wreck, I don’t remember damage to a physical possession, but I still think about that man’s son and pray for him. The moral to this story … for the Christian, there’s no such thing as an accident.