I heard a true-life good Samaritan story the other day with a trucking twist. It goes like this:
A man of the cloth with a large non-denominational church is driving home one night and it’s raining cats and dogs. He sees a very dirty man limping along on the side of the road with no umbrella or raincoat and thinks to himself, ‘wow, I’m glad I’m not outside in this downpour.”
He’s tired. It’s dark. It’s raining hard. And God begins to deal with the preacher, speaking to his heart to pick up the guy. “Oh no, not this guy, not tonight, Lord,” the minister says.
He continues down the road. Doesn’t stop. But the voice in his heart gets louder and more and more persistent.
So he goes to the next exit, gets off the road, then makes another turn to head back going the way the man had come, all the while praying silently that the vagabond would be gone by the time he gets there.
No, sure enough, the man is still limping along. And as he gets closer the pastor sees why he’s limping. He’s on crutches and … he only has one leg. He’s also soaked through from head to foot.
Now feeling really terrible the pastor pulls up and says, “Do you want a ride?” (“Duh,” he says to the congregation in the retelling of it.)
The man on crutches gets in the back seat and immediately the pastor’s eyes began to smart with the man’s rank body odor that no amount of rain could wash away.
“Where to?” he asks the stranger. “North Carolina,” the man says.
“I don’t think I can take you that far,” says the pastor, since they are several states away.
“Are you hungry? How about something to eat,” he offers.
The vagabond says he he’s starving so off they go.
The waitress seats them at the very back, away from the other diners, because of the man’s body odor.
But no matter. They eat and as they do the man shares how he has let one thing or another come between him and his family and has made some bad choices and now he needs to get back to his family and home.
So since the pastor can’t take him all the way to North Carolina he does the next best thing. He takes the now somewhat dry and very full man to a truck stop down the road and asks around until he finds a truck driver willing to take the guy to North Carolina.
Now I don’t know but I’ll wager nobody else in that entire church made too much of the truck driver part. The minister had continued with the story saying how he was proud of himself and bragging to God about what a good deed he’d done until God confronted him in his misplaced pride with the fact that He saw that very same minister long ago, limping along in life, reeking in his own sin and raised him up, made him whole and gave him eternal life.
The pastor learned a lesson in both humility and in God’s mercy.
But I wish he had added another lesson when he retold the story to his congregation: it was the truck driver who completed the mission, so to speak. It was the unsung, unheralded trucker who got the one-legged man back to North Carolina. And if he didn’t get the man all the way to his home in North Carolina, who else did but another trucker?
I tell you that to say this, dear readers: don’t ever sell yourself short.
The world may generalize and look down on truckers but you help people out every day and think nothing of it. And all the while you’re delivering the things we all need in life.
And you never know how much your acts of kindness mean to others, and how much they mean to God. Doesn’t He say: “As you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me”?
Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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