Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In the Company of Angels?

There's a passage in the Bible in which Jesus warns us to always show hospitality to strangers, as we may be in the company of angels unawares. I don't know about angels, but I've had some unusual encounters at fast food restaurants.

Once, I'd stopped at a Jack in the Box after a doctor's appointment--once they have that blood sample, I can breathe a sigh of relief until the next checkup rolls around. I was filling my soda cup when an elderly man sidled up to me and said, "This hamburger looks real good, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," I said, only half-listening.

"It would be even better with fries, don't you think?"

"Yeah." Is he just making conversation? If so, he ain't very good at it, I was thinking.

"Would you buy them for me?" he asked pleasantly.

Nice move, Gramps. I can usually spot that sort of thing a mile away, but you surprised the crap out of me. You earned those fries.

Then there was the woman who came into McDonald's one day. I was sitting alone, reading as I ate. A woman approached my table and asked if she could sit with me. The employee cleaning the dining room gave her a puzzled look. It wasn't as if there was no other place to sit. The restaurant was almost empty.

I figured she was trying to avoid someone and had decided there was safety in numbers. I had no problem with her joining me. If she was being followed, though, the person doing the following didn't find her there. We had a pleasant lunch and went our separate ways. The employee came up to me afterward and said, "What do you make of that?"

"God making sure I'm behaving myself," I told her.

Then there was the incident today. This one continues to bother me.

Times are tough, I know. Still, I wasn't prepared for what happened today. I was at the McDonald's in our neighborhood, having a Filet O'Fish meal. I'd eaten all but a handful of fries and was making notes for my afternoon's writing. when an older woman approached the booth. "Are you going to eat those fries?" she asked.

I shook my head.

"Can I have them?" she wanted to know.

I was stunned for a moment. "Sure," I said. But wouldn't she prefer a meal of her own?

Times are tough, folks. And we are indeed our brothers' keepers. If you encounter someone who's hungry or lonely or in other need, reach out. Embrace them. We all have to share this planet, in the end.

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