It was a dark and stormy night ... Okay, not really. It was a gloomy, snowy morning......
I had a lot of errands to do. One of them was to get some supplies at Walgreen's. It was a snowy and windy morning, so when I left, I wanted to make double sure that I brought my cart all the way back so that it wouldn't knock into a car. There are no cart carrels at Walgreen's, at least not the one by us. On my way back to the store with my cart, I pulled in the carts that were on my way there. I did not go out of my way to get the carts past my car because it was so horrible out, but it took no extra effort to bring back the ones that were on my way, and I figured that the people working inside the store should stay warm and dry for as long as they can. I figure that people working in stores during the Christmas season must find this season frustrating. They are busier than ever, the weather is sometimes bad, and people are in a hurry and preoccupied and not always as nice as they can be. I try to be extra pleasant and thoughtful to them in the hope that it may counteract some of the tension. We Christians insist that Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill, so it behooves us to share some, you know?
Still, since it was snowy, cold and windy, I did not want to go out of my way to get the other cart. I was not willing to experience a little more discomfort. Don't worry, I'm not hating on myself for that. What I want to get across is that it was uncomfortable weather, bad enough to make me not want to be out there an extra few seconds.
The clerk noticed me bringing in the carts, and thanked me. I got into my car to continue running errands. Up at the next stoplight was a man wearing what appeared to be a brown hoodie and jeans holding a cup asking for change. Billy Coffey had suggested the ten dollar challenge weeks ago, so I had my ten bucks easily within reach. I did not wait for any confirmation of the Spirit that this man was whom it was meant for....I just knew that the whole cart incident and not wanting an extra moment outside was meant to prepare my heart to give quickly to the man before the light changed and he needed to get out of traffic.
It was ten bucks. There was no life changing moment for either of us. I opened my car window, said "God bless you. I hope you have better circumstances in the coming year ", and placed the money in the cup. He said thank you. The light changed and he dashed to the side. I could see in my side mirror that he looked inside of the cup, and started heading to the gas station. I can't tell you whether he was thinking "Yaay! Coffee and a donut!" or "Stupid woman probably was confused and thought it was a dollar." It doesn't matter. The important thing is that for a few moments, he did not have to stay out in a snowstorm, and could get a coffee and a donut.
Yes. I know. They sell other types of refreshment at gas stations as well. Don't let the fact that I am young and cute fool you. I was NOT born yesterday. It is altogether possible he got himself some liquid refreshment that would make him feel warmer, but is not, coffee, tea, or cocoa. I'm okay with that. I'm not a tea totaler myself. I like a little whiskey and honey to soothe a sore throat or a chronic cough, and being outdoors collecting change on a day like that was bound to give him one or the other. I regret more that it is unlikely he would be having any honey to sweeten the bitter home remedy, if that was his choice. Which again, he may have been getting cocoa with marshmallows. I'll never know. I don't need to know, though I sort of hope he opted for a little sweetness...
In the spirit of Goodwill that we Christians sing about this time of year, how about checking out Billy Coffey's Ten Dollar Challenge by clicking here.