The Bible’s Tenth Chapter of Luke relates the parable told by Jesus of the Good Samaritan, detailing the experience of an ill-fated traveler upon the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
After being set upon by robbers and left sorely wounded and bleeding alongside the road, the man needing help was not aided by others of his own kind who passed him by. Yet, a kind stranger of a different ethnicity stopped and helped the beleaguered man as if he were a close neighbor and valued friend.
Recently, on the day after Christmas, Beverly and I were on our own Jerusalem to Jericho road in the form of a dark, lonely stretch of the Natchez Trace between Eupora and Kosciusko when beset by a blown out tire.
Managing only to barely get off the road and occupying a somewhat perilous position on its slanted shoulder, I activated the car’s emergency flashers.
Icy, Cold Night
I first ascertained that neither Beverly nor I had any cell phone service. We wondered how far I might have to walk in the icy cold night until I could get service. Then, managing to unload the car’s trunk of the suitcases and Christmas presents, I got out the spare tire and jack.
While the few cars that happened by quickly passed without stopping, I banged up my knuckles trying to loosen lug nuts and was having a miserable time attempting to position the jack and operate it given the muddy, steep incline of the road’s shoulder.
Thank goodness we had a flashlight! It was every bit of two inches long!
Bleeding and Bloody
My knuckles were bleeding and muddy, my knees hurt beneath my wet trousers from kneeling on the rocky, muddy shoulder and I confess that I was just about done in, when a pickup truck drove by, braked, stopped a ways past me, and a man with a flashlight at least a foot long got out and walked back.
He did not ask if I needed help, instead he uttered, “Sir, it looks like you need some help.”
I wiped my wet, muddy and bleeding hand on my pants in order to shake the hand of friendship that the stranger extended to me.
He quickly surveyed the situation and went back to his truck from which he produced a better lug wrench and jack equipped with a long handle. Ignoring the mud and sharp rocks, he got on his back and crawled under the car, positioning the jack securely.
Two of the lug nuts were stripped, but he went back to his truck and found a heavy piece of pipe that he used to hammer a smaller-sized lug wrench onto the stripped lugs. He apologized that he did not have a hammer. I held the big flashlight and provided light for him except when I used it to signal passing cars that we needed a little space on our side of the roadway.
Angel of Mercy
I did not yet know the man’s name but I knew he was an angel sent by God. He got all the lugs loosened and soon had the car sufficiently jacked up in order to remove the rim and what remained of the blown out tire. He bounced the spare a time or two on the pavement and, with a concerned look on his face, told me the bad news. The spare was flat!
I asked if we could put it on and drive very slowly until we could get somewhere to get a tire. He advised that he was afraid it would tear up the tire before we got far and, it being so late and the day after Christmas, he doubted I would be able to find a place to buy a tire.
He thought a bit and said, “I can take you back to Eupora and see if we can put air in the spare.”
I did not want to leave Beverly. He said he could make room in the truck for her. I did not want to leave the car and our things. I asked, “Can I give you some money and let you go with the flat spare?”
The man nodded and acknowledged that he had been hesitant to suggest that approach, because he did not know what he might have to do to get air and did not want to ask me for money.
Beverly had a little money, and I gave him enough to put gas in his truck and buy air if he could find some. Our angel left the big flashlight with me and told me that it might take a while, but he would be back. I never doubted him a second.
Of course, the angel did come back and had air in the tire. In short order, he had the spare on and helped me load everything back into the trunk. He then tried to give me change, saying, “I only put a little gas in the truck and the air only cost 75 cents.”
I flatly refused the change and advised that I did not have more money but wanted his name and address so I could send him more.
The angel said he could not take money for doing a good deed, and that he would not give me his name and address unless I promised not to send money.
He reluctantly kept the change, saying that he could use it for gas to get to where he was going before he had stopped to help me. I told him that Beverly and I considered him an angel sent by the Lord to help us.
He said, “Oh, no, I was just coming by and saw that you needed help.”
My good Samaritan angel is Allie Kilbert from Vicksburg. Thank God for him!