It was one of those summer days most people dread—oven-hot and windy enough to transfer topsoil from one county to the next. And it was Friday afternoon. My husband, Lloyd, was hurrying home from town with repair parts when he saw a trucker climbing down from the top of his semi, which was parked on the shoulder of the highway. The fellow looked rough—sweaty, with unkempt hair and beard—the kind of fellow you’d just as soon drive on by. He obviously had a serious problem, though, and needed help.
At that point Lloyd felt that he had the problem. Help is usually spelled “T I M E,” and time is especially precious on a Friday afternoon, even in summer.
Maybe he’ll just need someone to make a phone call for him, Lloyd thought hopefully as he pulled up to the big rig.
“I’m out of fuel,” the trucker explained. The primary tank was empty, and when he had switched to the auxiliary, he had discovered that it had developed a leak and was empty also. The closest station was some 30 miles away. Would Lloyd help him out with five or 10 gallons of diesel? Yup, Lloyd would.
“Hop in,” he said, and they headed on to the farm, about five miles away.
The trucker looked uncomfortable—as if he had something on his mind.
“I don’t have any cash or checks on me to pay you. All I have is a credit card.”
“Don’t worry about it. You can pay me the next time you come by this way” was Lloyd’s easygoing reply.
“I’ve never been routed up here before—doubt I’ll ever be again,” said the trucker.
“Then just help out someone else who needs it. I’ll consider that payment enough.”
The trucker sat deep in thought the rest of the way. The two men filled the fuel containers and drove back to the truck. Things seemed a bit strange. Lloyd could usually get a conversation going with anyone, but he couldn’t get even this fellow’s name.
“Say, I want to give you something for the fuel and your trouble. There’s a little knickknack shelf in the back of the truck. Would you take that? I picked up the loaded trailer, delivered all the furniture on the lists to each of the warehouses, and no one claimed it. It’ll be unloaded at the unhooking point and go into unclaimed freight. Don’t know where it came from or where it’s supposed to go ’cause every place got what they ordered. Why don’t you back your pickup to the trailer, and I’ll throw it on for you.”
So saying, he opened the door. Standing alone in the middle of the trailer was a crate about seven feet tall. The trucker lifted the crate with his powerful arms and quickly deposited it on the pickup bed. Then he smiled, waved, and hopped into the cab of his rig.
As he drove off, Lloyd did have enough presence of mind to notice that there was no identification anywhere on the semi—and then it was gone in the evening dusk.
The “little shelf” turned out to be a beautiful six-foot wood, mirrored, lighted, multi-shelved curio cabinet, which occupies a special place in our living room. I never dust it without remembering an unusual Friday afternoon in the life of a busy but kindhearted farmer.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2, NIV).
By Beverly Stevens Binder
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