So today at work I had an amazing experience:
A man named William came in and was a little
He was loud, dressed poorly, smelled of smoke, and spoke to anyone in the vicinity. He walked to the copy counter and made a weird comment-question to another customer causing me to look over at him. He said, “Sir, I’m asking for real. I know I’m loud, but it’s cool, bro. I’m not crazy or trying to start something. Its a genuine question. I know I look weird, I’m half deaf and cross-eyed….its a cool story for another time on how that happened.”
I looked away.
He began speaking to another customer.
He was in his late twenties or early thirties. His mother walked up and asked him something and they then went to our self serve area to make copies. I heard him ask aloud, to no one in particular, where to put the money in the machine. Without actually addressing him I spoke in his general direction: “You have to get a card from the kiosk, or use a credit card.” He said he would prefer if I did it, and so I did.
I’d be lying if I did not tell you that he made me uneasy…like how you feel when you know a situation is about to go badly in a movie. Or how you feel when see someone in the shadows across the street
and you’re lost.
I have no idea why I felt that way, but I did. Maybe it was because he did look and act a little differently than what we consider
Maybe it was because he was in his late twenties or so and hanging out with his mom. Maybe because he kept apologizing to everyone for his behavior, or because he kept saying “God bless you” to everyone. I don’t know.
A woman was shopping nearby with her kids, and I saw her kind of shield them. William saw it, too. He said, “Ma’am. I’m sorry. I don’t mean nothing. I didn’t mean to scare you or your kids. God bless you.” I guess she looked at him confusedly, as he immediately followed up with, “I mean it. Really. God bless you. Blessings on you and your kids. God bless your family and friends. All of them. For real.”
That hit me hard.
He was apologizing for all his actions except his faith. As a matter of fact, he was louder and more sincere when he was wishing those blessings than anyone I heard all day talking about
That’s Biblical faith. The faith we learn about in church and read about in studies. You know that story about how any stranger could be Jesus?
Yeah, that hit me, too.
A few more minutes passed, and he needed to fax something. Him and his mom had a small tiff, for which he quickly apologized.
Not to anyone else. And then he tried to fax something. Or rather, he asked me to do it.
He looked up and said, “Robert, I need your help. I can’t do this myself. I know it’s easy, but I just
I walked over to him, and said, “It would be my pleasure.” As I took his papers, he looked at me, his eyes welled up, and he said, “I need to talk to you right now.
I need a friend.”
My first thought was “what the heck”….? Seriously, despite just thinking he might be Jesus, I was seriously wondering how fast I could get out of this situation!
I started trying to ignore what he was saying by counting his pages (22 of them) to be faxed. Smoothing them, separating them, doing whatever I could to not make eye contact. But at some point I started to
He had been dating a woman for about 6-8 months and helping to raise her two kids. She cheated on him. She stole $50,000 from his bank account. She took the kids and she filed a restraining order on him! I listened more, and this guy
her! He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t mad. He was heartbroken. After she left him she had run into some legal issues and ended up in jail, so he was working with his lawyer to have her represented and get the charges dropped. I listened some more and he was a former Special Forces Operator and FBI agent, decommissioned after the accident that messed up his vision, hearing and the social centers of his brain.
Did I mention he forgave Kenna, the woman who broke his heart, stole his money and took the kids he was helping to raise?
All of a sudden I was overcome with both peace and an
to pray with and for William. I asked him if he believed in God for real, he said “yes, and Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and personal savior. So I appreciate your prayers for us if you remember tonight.” Before I knew it, God had taken ahold of my mouth and tongue, “Would you like to pray now? Together? Can I pray for you?” “Yes, man, yes! Please! I knew I came to you for a reason. I really needed a friend, and God gave me an angel.”
So there we were, hands clasped beside a fax machine. Me praying, him with his head on our clasped hands saying “Yes, God. Please, God. Thank you, God.”
And I am not ashamed for one second of what William showed me and taught me tonight. Or having taken a few minutes to pray with a desperate soul, who gave me one heck of a
because he just needed a friend.