One evening my car ran out of gas on the interstate during rush hour. I steered to the shoulder as it coasted to a stop, and went through all the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. Dusk was falling as I carefully made my way down the next exit ramp to a gas station.
I waited my turn in the station behind a man who took his candy bar with a gracias for the clerk. Then it was my turn. The man at the register listened impatiently to my story, then told me that he would give me a gallon of gas but he needed a $5 cash deposit for the can. I didn’t have five dollars cash—I didn’t even have a dollar!
The man with the candy bar was listening. He didn’t appear to be a rich man, with his faded plaid shirt and worn jeans. He edged a bit closer to look when I showed the clerk my empty billfold. The clerk finally sighed and gave me a gas can with a gallon in it. I promised to bring the can back and use my credit card to fill my tank. I left with the can of gas, and the candy bar man left too. He followed me. I got nervous. Then I felt a touch on my shoulder and a few words in Spanish. I turned to see his outstretched hand offering a dollar bill to me.
I’ll never know if my benefactor was nervously bold with that dollar or boldly confident. I do know that I will never forget his kindness.
Today we remember Francis of Assisi, renewer of the church (1226) and Theodor Fliedner, renewer of society (1864). It is the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. This message was adapted from “Act Boldly with Kindness” written by Sue Gamelin that first appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. If you are reading “Daily Grace” online, sign up to receive it by email.