Both Thanksgiving and Christmas call for intentional acts of charity and love. This week, however, I was the victim of a random act of kindness and am still dazed.
I have noted before that now that I am a senior citizen, strangers call me “Honey” and some clerks don’t even bother to ask for my identification before giving me a seniors discount. Also, every New Year’s Day I resolve to remember where I have parked when I go places. I often spend whole nights dreaming I’m searching for my car.
Now, in case you don’t know it, Hobby Lobby plays Christian music in the store and is closed on Sunday to respect the Sabbath. But I think they have outdone themselves with this one. Exiting Hobby Lobby, pushing my shopping cart, I went right to where I had parked my car, but of course, it wasn’t there.
As has happened for the last some 50 years, my first thought always is, “My car has been stolen!” My second thought is one of self-loathing. “Nancy, you idiot. You promised yourself you would remember where you parked! I could have sworn I parked right here.”
I began my familiar searching charade — just strolling around, whistling and pretending that I know where my car is. (By now, I am very good at this.) However, this time, to my immense amazement, I heard a voice, “Are you looking for your car?”
At first, I thought it might be God, but upon looking around, I saw a very nice looking man of about 40, standing by his car, looking right at me. How did he know? The word “no” was on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn’t bring myself to lie in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby. I weakly nodded “yes,” smiling my best I- am-really-not-senile smile.
“What kind of car is it?” he asked brightly, coming to my side.
Yeez. We just got the car a couple months ago — what kind is it? How am I supposed to know?
“I know what color it is — it’s Urban Titanium. Does that help? Ohhh, it’s a Honda SUV.”
Taking control, he began striding from aisle to aisle with great confidence, as if he were the Angel of Lost Cars. In four seconds, he pointed and announced, “There it is!”
I couldn’t believe it. There it was. I think I had walked past it three times. How did he do that? I was overcome with awe and thanked him as profusely as if he had helped me lose 10 pounds in one week. And then, he disappeared into his car and into the distance, just like the Lone Ranger used to. I expected to hear a distant “Hi Ho Silver! Away!” But I didn’t. You seldom hear that from an angel.
I consoled myself. “Men have a built-in computer chip that helps them find cars. Also, he was much taller than me so he could see the whole parking lot at one time. And he probably has better eyesight. Besides, I know it’s my destiny to spend at least five hours a week looking for my car.”
So, from the Angel of Lost Cars, a message: Commit a random act of kindness this season.