Several years ago I experienced a two way blessing with a stranger. I was visiting a young patient and his grandmother in a large hospital. My car had to be parked in a building across the street, where I received a ticket with the time that I parked the car on it.
As I walked through the hospital lobby towards my friend’s room, l was deeply touched by the solicitous care a young man was giving an older woman in a wheelchair. He was pushing her wheelchair to take her outside probably for a change of scenery on a sunny day.
I noticed the woman wore a hijab, the head covering of a Muslim woman. The woman, who I believe was his mother had had surgery recently judging from the clean bandage on her stump left from an above the knee amputation. We actually gave eye contact and smiled at each other.
To exit the parking building I had to pay for parking my car. I entered a small room at the front of the hospital lobby, where there was a machine designed to take payments for parking. I inserted the ticket in the appropriate slot and waited for the calculated amount of my debt. The amount and instructions then displayed over openings for cash or cards.
The machine took my appropriate payment. (I am not sure if I paid in cash or with a card. This happened several years ago.) Then to my surprise I got back at least $5, maybe more, in incorrect change! I am a very honest person and sought to make things right.
So I walked up to one of the hospital guards and asked how to return the extra money. He referred me to the gift shop there in the front lobby of the hospital. I asked the lady in the gift shop how to give the money back. She didn’t know and knew of no one to help me. So I left the gift shop with money in hand.
Sometimes weird things happen to me. Usually I wait and see what I should do. Often I just know what I should do. This incident was one of those times.
As I left the gift shop and walked back towards the front door I saw the young man and his mother coming back into the lobby. I know that family members often pay a lot of money to eat three meals for several days to stay with a loved one in the hospital. This amount adds up when the stay is even a few days.
I instantly knew who the $5 should go to! With a friendly smile on my face I approached the man and explained my intentions. I showed him the parking ticket and the money in my hand. I suddenly realized he did not speak enough English to totally understand my plan.
Then I was amazed and touched by what he did next. He put his hand in his pocket, took out his wallet and tried to give me between $5 to $10, (sorry I don’t remember the exact amount.) the money he thought I was lacking to pay for the parking space. Evidently he misunderstood my communication and thought I was short on the amount due but was willing to give money to an absolute stranger with whom he couldn’t communicate!
I smiled and shook my head. I was so touched by his generosity. Then I put the change in his hand and pointed to his mother and him. Then the light came on in his eyes. He understood I was giving him money for her or him. We both smiled broadly at each other.
I believe that both of our hearts were touched by the kindness and generosity of the other. One blessing or act of kindness turned into two blessings and acts of kindness. We gave each other a two way blessing.
A Hebrew proverb from the Old Testament explains what happened.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11;24-25. ESV
I hope he was as enriched as I was.