Long, long ago, before everyone had a cell phone, a drove a hand-me-down car that was on it's last leg. But I was an active teenager, so I did not let that stop me from driving that car everywhere. One night I was coming back to my mom's home in Ashland City, Tennessee late at night after an evening of play rehearsal. The way home was a long, dark two lane road with the minimum number of street lights. I was on that empty stretch when my car simply stopped working--coasted to a stop in the dead of the night.
To say I was freaked out would be putting it highly lightly. I had no phone, no car, and was 15 miles from home.
So, I just started walking. And crying. And praying that I would not be hit by a car, kidnapped or worse.
I walked only a quarter mile before a car pulled up. It was a man, in a dress shirt and tie, and he rolled down the passenger side window and the first thing he said was, "Please don't be scared. I am not going to hurt you. I just want to be sure you are safe. I can either take you to a phone or drive to one while you wait here."
Everything I had ever been taught told me never to get into a car with a stranger, but I got good vibes from this person and the alternative was staying out on the highway in the dark by myself, so I got in. He drove me to a pay phone.
I called my parents and he allowed me to wait in his car for them. He stood outside the car. Soon my parents arrived and took me home, after thanking the man for looking out for me.
"I'm a daddy to a daughter, too. It is what I would want to happen."
I never saw him again, and I failed to catch his name.
So, today, on this Sunday, I give thanks form the stranger who bailed me out 15 years ago, when he could have just kept right on driving.
Is there a stranger in your life or from your past you want to thank?