There But for the Grace of God . . .

You never know where  and when you will find inspiration.

This morning I was making the bed when I heard this story on the Morning Edition show on NPR.  John Rippo publishes a newsletter, Expresso, for frequenters of coffee shops.  One of the features of Expresso is a column on what he observes in coffee shops.  Here’s the story he told:

I  walked into the Cafe Italia one afternoon and saw a man sitting at an outside table. He was wrapped in a blue wool overcoat and he was writing a letter. And as I walked by, I saw that he had a revolver in his lap. So I went inside, I ordered a pair of espressos, went back to his table, sat down and asked him who he was going to shoot. And his reply was that he had no money and he was writing a suicide note. So, I had just been paid from an advertiser in cash and I offered to buy his revolver. I like guns, I collect them and he had a very rare gun in his lap. So I offered to buy his gun and part of the deal was that I got to take him to the railroad station and call his daughter who was in L.A. She was very happy to hear from her dear old dad and couldn’t wait to see him. So, in exchange for his gun, I bought him a railroad ticket and something to eat and gave him an espresso and sent him on his way. The Webley Mk IV revolver is now a paper weight on my desk.

text - there butI don’t know if John Rippo is a Christian, but isn’t this what Christians are to do every day of our lives – watch for opportunities to serve others and then  follow the nudges we are given by the Holy Spirit?

Three questions came to mind as I went about my business this morning? What would life have been like for the three people in this story (the man, his daughter, and John Rippo) if John had not noticed and acted?  Would I have done the same?  Who does God have waiting for me today?   You might want to reflect on the same questions.


You can find another inspiring story of intervention from this program by going to Morning Edition (Follow this link: or go to NPR, click on  Programs, find Morning Edition at the top left of the list of programs) and look for a story about a father, his six-year old son, and an alligator.

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1 Response to There But for the Grace of God . . .

  1. Kathleen Coveny says:

    Hi Karen, I wake up to NPR and the early morning hour stories are incredible. Thanks for sending this out. I just had my boss read it too. We talked about doing those little acts of kindness – you never know what may become of it. Blessings & see you this evening. Kathleen

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