Beginning To Think These Christmas Miracles Aren’t Miracles

, , , , , , | Hopeless | February 12, 2018

Many years ago, before cell phones, my wife and I were traveling through rural western Pennsylvania late Christmas night when our car broke down with no houses anywhere in sight. We resigned ourselves to spending the night in the car. When the sun came up, we saw that there was a farmhouse not too far away, so I knocked on the door, explained our predicament, and asked to use the phone to call a tow truck.

That’s all I asked for: to use the phone.

This is what I got:

They invited us inside, gave us coffee, and fixed us breakfast. The farmer told us there wasn’t any place around where we could get the car fixed on the day after Christmas. I asked about auto parts store. I had tools; I could fix it myself if I could get the right part. He called around until he found a store that was open and drove me there, while our wives had more coffee in the kitchen. They had the part, but I had no credit cards, and they didn’t want to take my personal check because it was from out of state. The farmer told the store manager that he would guarantee my check. After we got back, he insisted on helping me install the part in freezing rain.

And he wouldn’t take a dime.

We stopped there again on our way home a few days later, with a box of chocolates.

And since that time, I have never, ever accepted payment for helping someone else out. When people ask why not, I tell them this story. Thirty-five years later, I still can’t tell — or type — this story without crying.

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