In the spring of my junior year in college I had a blow out on a freeway in Dallas. Frustrated at the thought of having to change a tire on the side of a freeway I made my way to my trunk and whispered a prayer that someone might pull over and help me. Sure enough, at that exact moment a car stopped just in front of me on the emergency lane.
I could see two kids looking back at me in the rear window as their dad walked back to me. He said, “Have a flat tire?”, as I stood in front of my shredded blown out pile of rubber. “Ummm yeah”, I said, not wanting to point out the stupidity of his question and just thankful that he had stopped. As I bent down to take the hub cap off, he said, “I’d love to help you, but first you’re going to have to help me.”
I looked up and realized that from somewhere he had pulled out a revolver. I froze……He said, “Give me all the money in your wallet.” Shaking, I reached to my back pocket and as I was pulling out my wallet I remembered that I only had a single dollar bill. With my thumbs I opened up the wallet for him to see and said, “That’s all I got.” Seeing the single dollar he got angry and I closed my eyes as he hit me in the chest with handle of the gun. He said, “You’ve got to be kidding me”.
He then proceeded to take the dollar and run back to his car. I stood there with my hands still in the air watching his kids look back at me through the rear window as they drove off.
As my knees gave way to the thought of what just happened, I sat down and made sure I hadn’t wet myself. Then my mind went to those kids in the rear window.They just watched their dad rob someone. It’s been 16 years since that day on the freeway in Dallas and I still think about those kids in the rear window from time to time. Where are they? How did their life turn out? How do they view life now?
Bottom line: We never know the history of the people we interact with. Let’s make sure we’re extending tons of grace and love.