I was heading to work one morning but before I got on the freeway, I realized that my car needed gas. Badly.
So I stopped at the local gas station, pulled up to the pump, got out of my car and pulled my credit card out of my wallet to pay for my gas.
An older gentleman,probably in his late eighties who was parked at the pump in front of me, flagged me down and yelled “Young lady (love that!), I have something I want you to see.”
I was in a hurry, as I didn’t want to be late to work but I decided quickly to stop and see what he wanted.
I walked over to his car. He said to me “Take a look at what they did,” pointed to his back door window and I saw that the window had been completely smashed in.
I looked into his face and saw the tears start to well up in his eyes. My eyes got pretty misty, too. He looked at me and said “This is who I fought for? Someone who would smash in my car window and steal my wife’s purse? I battled at the beaches of Normandy. I watched my friends die on those beaches and for what? So this person can do THIS? Do they even know the freedom they live under today was given because of my friends who died?” He shook his fist as he spoke. I could feel his anger. It was palpable.
I was in a hurry when I got to the gas station but I suddenly didn’t care if I was late to work. I knew how important this moment was to me. I needed it. I needed this conversation as it had already been a long and tiring week so I put aside my schedule and talked with him.
We talked about World War II, the tragedy of the war and the sacrifice.
We talked about choices made. The good choices and the not-so-good choices.
We talked about life. He told me that he had been married to the same woman for 64 years and that she was the light of his life. His eyes lit up when he spoke of his wife. It was truly beautiful.
We talked about Thanksgiving and Christmas and what both holidays meant to both of us individually.
We just talked and talked and talked.
Finally, I knew I had to head to work but before I left him, I stopped, shook his hand and thanked him for serving our country so heroically. I told him what his generation meant to me personally and that they’d never be forgotten. Ever.
I wished him a Merry Christmas and thanked him for the gift of his conversation that morning.
Sometimes you never know how just running to the gas station can change your life. How it can change your outlook. How it can change your soul.
I was blessed because he happened to be at the gas station that morning. God had arranged our chance meeting. I just knew it deep within my soul. It was one of the greatest Christmas gifts I could have been given this year.
Merry Christmas to you and your family, sir. And thank you.