The air was cold when I stepped out of my house the other morning, and I felt it seeping through my clothes as I ran to my van. I turned the key and I noticed the gas tank was on empty and I chided myself for not filling up the night before. I was running a few minutes late and the extra stop would only add to my already long commute. I pulled into the gas station while mentally recalculating the time it would take to get to work when an older woman got out of the car next to me. Her heavy winter coat hung down to her knees and her hair was neatly tucked into a scarf that covered her head. Even though the years were traced on her face, her makeup was immaculate. With money clutched in her hand, I watched her slowly limp towards the storefront to pay for her fuel.
Pump her gas…
What?? I shook off the notion as I reminded myself that I was already running late and doing that was sure to further lengthen my commute.
Pump her gas…
I frowned, What if she thinks that’s strange? I looked up and she was standing at the counter. I got out and began the chore of filling my own gas tank. I shivered as I stood in the cold, wondering where I had put my coat.
Pump her gas.
I watched as she left the store, making her way back to her car, each step an effort as she recrossed the parking lot.
Pump her gas!!
Fine!! I took a deep breath, walked away from my comfort zone and straight towards the woman.
“Excuse me Ma’am, may I pump your gas?”
She looked up at me and smiled. “Are you sure? That would be nice!”
“I don’t mind,” I replied. “Besides, it’s cold, you could wait in your car if you’d like and stay warm.”
“I don’t mind the cold,” She smiled at me as I unscrewed the cap on her car and started pumping her gas. “This is very kind of you. I fell last week. It’s getting better, but it still hurts to walk. It’s been difficult.Why are you doing this? I really hope someone does something nice for you.”
“They already have!” She looked at me quizzically and before I knew it, I blurted out ,”Our family went through a rough patch recently. I was pregnant and we lost the baby.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry!”
“Well, it’s just that when we were going through that horrible time, so many people stepped up and helped us in big and small ways. So if I can help someone else…”
“I think they helped you because you have a kind face,” She said as the gas pump clicked, signaling that it was finished. I put the cap back on her tank. She thanked me again and we gave each other a hug. We both got in our vehicles and drove away. I don’t know her name and she doesn’t know mine… and that is completely okay.
The interaction lasted mere minutes and it didn’t change that woman’s circumstances, nor did it change mine, but the few moments we spent in each others’ company reminded me that some of the best things in life are the random tiny moments of human connection that aren’t planned or expected. They happen when we follow the promptings the Lord gives us and we step outside our comfort zone to help another person. We need to recognize that sometimes the things we see as inconveniences or annoyances, like an empty gas tank, are actually divine appointments, should we choose to embrace them.
C had a lock-in with her American Heritage Girls troupe last night, and while she didn’t spend the night, we went back there this morning for a few hours so that she could have breakfast and work on some of her badges. Her group was doing a science experiment that consisted of tasting various foods and deciding if they were sweet, sour, bitter, salty, etc… She definitely didn’t approve of the baking chocolate or the coffee, but loved the gummy snack and thought the arugula tasted good! After AHG we went to a cousin’s birthday party and after that we made a stop at Dunkin Donuts for a treat before heading home and ordering pizza for dinner. So basically, we just ate our way though Saturday, a highly successful start to the weekend if you ask me!