I sat in the Social Security Office nervously anticipating my first appointment in the retirement process. The room was crowded and noisy – my least favorite environment. I first saw her through a window. She climbed carefully down the steps of the bus, took her walker from the bus driver, and slowly made her way into the room. She had a beautiful smile.
She was ushered immediately into a room for her appointment, and my turn came soon after that. When I was finished, I looked around for her, but she was nowhere to be seen. A cold March wind whipped around the door as I went outside. There she was near the driveway waiting in her walker. I looked at her for a minute as I walked to my car. Then God prompted me to go and talk to her. Approaching a complete stranger was totally out of character for me, but I walked over and greeted her. She said she had gotten in and out of her appointment more quickly than she expected and now had a long wait for the bus. “But it will be fine,” she said, smiling warmly at me.
Again God checked in. “Offer her a ride.”
I rebelled. (Moses and Peter are my soul-mates!) I don’t know her, I thought. I don’t know where she lives. She probably won’t ride with a white person. I have a lot to do today. Then I thought: It’s cold. It’s dangerous trying to maneuver out here with a walker. She’s very friendly. Maybe she’s not worried about my being white.
Finally I asked her where she lived. On the north side of town about a mile from my house! I heard God “chuckling” in the background. I asked if she wanted a ride home. I helped her into the car, put her walker in the back seat, and we headed for home. We had a lovely conversation about how she had injured her back and how helpful her teen-age son is.
As we drove into the apartment complex, she told me I could drop her off at the office, but I drove to her apartment door. As she got out of the car, I got the walker out of the back seat and pushed it to her. As I turned to leave, I gave her one of the “random acts of kindness” cards our church had given us for situations like this.
She said, “Oh, no, honey, I don’t need this. I already know why you gave me a ride. God always sends me an angel when I need one.
2021 Update: This post was published on May 15, 2015. Reading it again, my attention is grabbed by the graciousness of this woman. I remember the gratitude with which she she accepted the ride. I would have panicked if some stranger offered me a ride. I also remember how easily we chatted as we drove the ten or so miles to the northside of Holland. The title of this post when it was first published was Angel Unaware. As I re-read the story, I’m not sure which one of us was the angel.