Last Saturday, my husband and I went to a local coffee shop. This is one of our favorite things to do on the weekends. Although we are technically working, it never feels like work while sipping on a delicious cup of coffee and enjoying the buzz of people around you.
I don’t know what it is, but something about being a coffee shop makes me feel so productive!
Later that afternoon while I was getting ready for a wedding, the doorbell rang. People rarely ring our front doorbell, so I figured this was some sort of sales nonsense and yelled for Will to get the door. The dog was barking like crazy and Will was rushing around to find a shirt to put on.
He scrambled to open the door and contain the vicious little white dog (who would perhaps lick a stranger to death), to find a man and woman patiently waiting.
I stood hidden in the background because I was fully prepared to let my husband deal with this situation. To my surprise, they asked if Jenna Yoder was home.
For a second, I was freaked out. How do these strangers know my name and why are they at my house? I peeked around the corner and apprehensively said, I’m Jenna? The man reached out and had something in his hand. As I walked closer, he said, I think this belongs to you.
IT was my wallet!
The couple explained to me that they’d found it at the coffee shop and wanted to make sure I got it back safe and sound.
This man standing in front of me looked into my eyes and said, I know that would’ve been stressful for you to get all of this stuff back, and it’s what I would want someone to do for me.
All of my credit cards, license, insurance card, checks, and any other important document in my life was in that wallet. SO yes, that precious man was correct. It would’ve been an enormous PAIN and horribly time-consuming to cancel and retrieve all of that stuff.
I was blown away by their generosity. There stood two complete strangers who cared enough about another stranger to do such a kind act of love. I looked at these people with tears in my eyes and a full heart.
I’ve heard of things like that happening to other people, but I’d never experienced it myself! In fact, a few years ago my wallet was stolen, and last year half of our Christmas gifts were taken from our front porch!
So to say the least, I was speechless at the kindness this couple was showing me. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be the recipient of this sort of generosity. It had an enormous impact on me.
Share The Love
The next weekend I’d gone to see my sister for the night. On my home, I stopped for gas. While filling up, I looked over and noticed a woman sobbing in her beaten up SUV.
My heart felt heavy for her; she looked like she was in so much pain, defeated perhaps. I said a silent prayer for her. I asked God to wrap his loving arms around this women.
Taking a step to get in my car, I stopped. I couldn’t help but think of that little man and his wife standing on my front porch with my wallet.
They hadn’t wished me luck, turned in my wallet, and went on their way. No, they showed me, love. They drove to a strangers house because they would’ve wanted someone to do the same for them.
Before I could stop myself, I walked over to this woman’s car. I interrupted her crying and waved to her. Grabbing for a tissue and wiping away tears, she rolled down her window. I asked her if she was ok.
I looked into her eyes; I listened to her.
My eyes wandered to the car-seat that held a child in the back as she told me about the terrible morning she’d had with an abusive spouse.
I asked her if she and her child were ok. I asked her if they had somewhere safe to go. The tears rolled as she said, yes, and that she was trying to make it to her mother’s house a few states over but she didn’t have enough gas money.
She put her head down in shame.
At this moment, I didn’t see a stranger anymore. I saw this woman as myself. Although I haven’t been in her particular situation, I’ve felt the feelings of pain and shame. The feeling like everything around me is falling apart. The feeling where I NEED someone to tell me it’s going to be ok. Where I need someone to encourage me to get back up.
I put my hand on her shoulder. As she looked up at me with her swollen, tired eyes, I said to her, everything’s going to be ok.
I told her that we all experience a really terrible day sometimes and that life can throw hard things our way, she’s not alone. I told her how brave it was to leave and get herself and her child out of a bad situation.
I reached into that wallet that was so generously brought back to me and gave her the chance to get to her mom’s house. I told her to go, to start over. I told her she deserves it. I told her I would be praying her, and that she’s loved.
I don’t know anything else about that woman, but I pray that her flame was lit that day because it had surely been blown out.
Hope is contagious.
Be vigilant in the opportunity to light someone’s flame around you. We all want the same things; we want to feel loved, valued, safe, heard, and cared for. So don’t see people as strangers, rather see them as yourself.
Sharing this story is a testament to how one stranger’s kindness sparked my fire. And how it opened my heart and eyes to see an opportunity to share that love. My hope is that it sparks yours too!