Well, I did it. Thirty-one days straight of writing about starting over. I have proven to myself that I can start and finish a project, stretched my creativity, hopefully improved my writing skills and made some new friends.
Today is the last day. And…..it’s Halloween! So I thought I’d finish up with a spooky story.
On a dark, but busy freeway in Birmingham, Alabama, a young girl is driving home after visiting her parents. She is driving a Chevy Impala with a broken gas gauge. Her car is in the shop and the car dealer has loaned her this car to drive until hers is repaired. He failed to share the information about the gauge.
There is a section of north Birmingham that she must drive through that is not safe. The gauge reads 1/2 a tank, so she is just motoring on through without a thought about a gas station, until the car begins to sputter to its death. She manages to get the car over to the left shoulder and begins to cry. It’s close to midnight in 1981. There are no cell phones. The only way she can get to a phone is to cross 4 lanes of freeway traffic and walk into a deserted area of town and knock on a stranger’s door.
She begins to pray. “God, please send me a policeman, send me a policeman, send me a policeman,” she continues, begging God for a miracle. She keeps looking in her rearview mirror. She locks the doors. Her fear is that any minute now, someone is going to stop who isn’t a policeman and she will not know whether to open her window or not.
“God please, please, please, send me a policeman,” she prays again. She looks again in her rearview mirror. The headlights of something that looks like a Ford Pinto are slowing behind her. The car door opens and a tall man gets out and begins walking toward the driver’s side of her car. She begins to cry again and tells God, “I asked You for a policeman!”
Looking in the side mirror, she sees that the man approaching is dressed in some sort of a uniform. She cracks the window and the gentleman says, “Good evening ma’am, I’m a UAB Security officer. Do you need some help?” She hesitates because he IS driving a Pinto. He offers, “I’m on my way to work and will be happy to help.” All kinds of thoughts cross her mind, like “this could be a serial killer, dressed in a fake uniform; or a rapist who prays on women in broken down Impala’s on the side of the interstate in Birmingham, AL.”
But then, she thinks she really has no choice here and after all, she did pray for this. “Where is your faith?” she thinks to herself. “I live in Homewood, in Ski Lodge III Apartments. Could you take me there to get my husband?” she asked shaking. He agrees and she gets into the Ford Pinto with the “security officer” who takes her home. She thanks him over and over, but seems to be in shock that the whole thing happened. She fails to read the name on his badge.
With all the stress of retrieving the gas-free car behind her, she goes back to her life as usual, and doesn’t think much about the policeman. A couple of days later the dealer calls to say that her car is ready. With her spirits lifted and driving her own car again, she finds herself along that same dark, busy freeway in Birmingham, AL. As she passes by the spot where the Impala had died, she thinks about that night again.
The next day she decided to call the UAB Security Office to see to whom she could send a thank-you note. After relating the story to several different employees in the office, the only thing they can do to find the man, is put her note on the bulletin board and hope that someone will come forward as her hero.
She sends the note to the address they give her and waits several days before calling them back. When she speaks to the office again they share with her that they have shared the note with every shift of officers and not one person has stepped forward. And…. not one of their officers drives a Ford Pinto.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Heb. 13:2)
And on one black, ghostly night in a deadly part of town, an angel just may have shown hospitality to me.