You’re a single mother. Your name is Deidra. Your wallet has three bucks in it. You have an old Visa gift card with twelve dollars left on it.
Something bad happened today.
It wasn’t because of anything you did. It’s because you’re in your late-thirties, and teenagers can do your job cheaper. They cut your hours. Management’s way of firing you.
You reacted. You let your manager have it. You called him an awful name. You wish you could take it back.
You cry in your car. You wipe your face. Then cry again. You wait for your kids to exit the free daycare.
And here you are, sorting mail while you wait. Power bill. Water bill. Cellphone bill. Cable. Insurance. It never ends.
Your kids run toward you. There are kisses, hugs. You notice how tall your oldest is. Your nine-year-old colored a picture.
They talk loud and happy.
You’re thinking about what’s inside your refrigerator for supper. A few slices of bologna, half a liter of Coke, old carrots, two eggs.
You look in your purse. The gift card.
You drive to a pizza buffet. It’s six bucks for your oldest, four bucks for the youngest—not counting soda.
You slide your card and hold your breath.
Life isn’t supposed to be this way. You’re not supposed to skip suppers and feed your kids with gift cards.
You’re young, pretty, healthy. You’re supposed to be happy. Instead, you’re a few dimes shy of homelessness.
After the meal, you leave eighty-four cents for a tip. That’s all the loose change you have—you’re saving your last three dollars.
You drive. Your gas gauge is on E.
You’re humiliated. That’s how poverty works. It embarrasses a person, until they think so little of themselves, they don’t like their reflection.
You pull into a gas station. You’re going to put three dollars into your old Ford Contour. Not a penny more.
You walk inside to pay cash.
There’s a man in line, behind you. He’s tall. Longish hair. Dirty boots.
He sees you throw three dollars down. He steps forward and says, “I’ll pay for her gas.” He places thirty dollars on the counter.
“You don’t have to do that,” you tell the man.
He doesn’t answer. He just smiles. You’re embarrassed. You head for your car.
He follows. “Wait!” he hollers.
Now, you’re scared. Some weirdo is following you, and God knows what he’s got in mind. You’ve seen the ten-o’clock news.
You jump into your car and lock the doors. You start the engine.
He raps on the window. “Please,” he says. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”
After a few minutes, he doesn’t leave. You roll down your window—against your better judgement.
The man hands you an envelope with four hundred-dollar bills in it. Crisp bills. Four.
“It’s all I got,” he says. “Wish it were more.”
He says nothing else and walks away. He does not step into a car. He does not mount a bicycle. He walks into the darkness, and he’s gone.
Maybe you don’t think there is something up there, watching over you.
Deidra wants you to know there is.
Gayle Dawkins - August 3, 2017 1:26 pm
Great story Sean. You have so much compassion for people in need. Love this story.
Patsy - September 18, 2017 11:13 am
Maybe an angel sent from above, or someone that has been on the bottom. But planting in famine with reap a harvest. Maybe he was planting for his own harvest. God is good.
Kay Shelton - August 3, 2017 1:28 pm
Thank you God for people like that young man. Help ME be so aware and so willingly compassionate, even to my last dollar.
Linda - August 3, 2017 1:28 pm
Angels do show up when you least expect it don’t they?
And sometimes – just sometimes – they don’t show up in person to help but the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you just know you might be getting into a situation where something bad might happen to you .
That’s an angel tapping you on the shoulder….so please listen….
Thomas Savage - August 3, 2017 1:42 pm
Some “thing” Sean? You really think God is a thing??
Brian Heinz - August 3, 2017 1:48 pm
The Lord will provide and by his grace he saves.
Susan Alexander - August 3, 2017 1:50 pm
That one hit home. Right in my single momma feels.
Michelle - September 18, 2017 9:36 am
Mine too, Susan.
Nona Fox - August 3, 2017 1:58 pm
Their are So many wonderful people out there that have the Spirit of the Living GOD in them and that is what keeps this planet turning on its axle. Prayers Praise and His Promises are ALWAYS yes!
I was more impressed with the man that answered the Spirit within to a complete Gods divine appointment …. Without that…. she would continue on the same path of unbelief .
We serve an amazing God . I give Him all the Glory.
Catherine - August 3, 2017 1:59 pm
God’s grace lives thru his people…with love.
Donna Holifield - August 3, 2017 2:01 pm
Sandra Marrar - August 3, 2017 2:02 pm
Paul - August 3, 2017 2:09 pm
Brenda Elliott - August 3, 2017 2:29 pm
You’ve done it again.
Connie - August 3, 2017 2:31 pm
I’ve been. Still am, a lot more days than I want to admit. Single 6 years, raising my granddaughter on my own. Full of joy, that, but long sleepless worried nights about how to pay everything that comes up. Relating to your story today, there was one particularly bad day that comes to mind. Power was about to be turned off, so I went to give them literally my last dollars to keep it on. While I was standing there, talking to the sweet lady behind the counter, ashamed and breaking down, the lady beside me stuck a folded bill in my hand. I couldn’t see what it was, and she walked out before I did, but she stuck $50 in my hand. That meant I could feed us the rest of the week until payday rolled around. Ever since then, no matter how little I have, I try to help other people. You never know how a little bit of help can keep someone from total despair. Thank you again for sharing stories of real life and hope.
Sherrie - August 3, 2017 3:49 pm
I love your story, too. <3
Janis - August 8, 2017 2:59 am
Connie…please keep sharing your story, as well. You are blessed and a blessing!
Wanna - August 3, 2017 2:46 pm
Not “something” but Someone – watching over us all.
Jacque - August 3, 2017 2:49 pm
I wonder if she met one of my little brothers? You made me cry.
Katy - August 3, 2017 3:09 pm
God in the flesh, that’s what that “something” is. I’ve been blessed to have a similar experience and it’s a tough one. I hope I’ve done a good job being God in the flesh for others in need.
Pamela McEachern - August 3, 2017 3:49 pm
I believe God puts Angels in our life when we are at our lowest. I know, he has done it for me and I am so grateful. Peace and Grace
Sherrie - August 3, 2017 3:50 pm
Yes, there are angels.
Michelle Jones - August 3, 2017 3:52 pm
Great Message. Needed that today.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - August 3, 2017 5:00 pm
I’m crying — again!! Your stories sure do touch my heart. Yes!! There are good people out there.
Debbie Galladora - August 3, 2017 5:20 pm
Janet Mary Lee - August 3, 2017 5:22 pm
Crying, too!…. You always do that!….. Smiling thru the tears!!…..touching our hearts.
Susan in Georgia - August 3, 2017 5:45 pm
Yep, SomeONE is definitely watching over Deidra & her children, and I believe God sent an angel to her at that gas station. HE does things like that, ya know. I like happy endings 🙂
David Wright - August 3, 2017 5:51 pm
I had stopped at a gas station on the way home. Got back in the car and it would not start. No click or nothing. Dead battery. Also one of the rare days I had forgotten my cell phone. I was standing there looking under the hood and an old fellow in a very old pickup truck pulled up to my car and came out with some old sketchy looking jumper cables. He connected the cables and told me to start the car. When it started right up he unhooked the cables and tossed them in the back of his truck. He turned to leave and I offered him some money. He laughed and told me to spend the money on a new battery.
anna - August 3, 2017 6:11 pm
wow! i believe she experienced an angel encounter
Pat Byers - August 3, 2017 7:08 pm
again, I sit crying. you have that effect on me, with your words.
angels? oh, yes. I believe in angels. sometimes in the forms of people. sometimes, perhaps only to be seen for a few moments. and then you wonder if what you saw was really real.
this is a good cry.
but then, yours always are.
Bobbie - August 3, 2017 7:28 pm
Okay, this one finished me off for the week…can’t stop crying and being thankful for caring “strangers”.
Judy Miller - August 3, 2017 8:04 pm
God has the strange’s ways to send help.
Maybe the time off will allow her to find an even better job.
Jeannie - August 3, 2017 8:09 pm
One of God’s Angels. I, too, have had an Anonymous Angel give to me one time when it was most needed. The exact amount needed, not a penny less or a penny more. I know it was directly from God and I still remain grateful. I live now paying it forward.
Edith - August 3, 2017 9:16 pm
I know how that woman felt. Been there. Thanks be to God I made it through. I pray that poor woman and her children are better off now. I hope she was able to get a better job. I pray God continues to be with her.
Thank you for her story.
Perri Williamson - August 3, 2017 9:32 pm
EVERY. DAY. Every day you manage to find yet another inspirational story. It kinda makes me feel that the mainstream media JUST isn’t trying that hard–or at all!
Earlier this week my cousin in Orlando (I live in SWFL) texted to ask how I survived “Emily.” I responded, “Who IS Emily?” I don’t watch the news–because there are no strangers that vanish into the night that give single mom’s an envelope stuffed with 4 crisp $100 bills.
I’m more of a Sean-of-the-South-TV-watcher, thank you very much.
Jack Quanstrum - August 3, 2017 9:53 pm
Wonderfully written! Beautiful story!
Ernie Tompkins - August 4, 2017 12:50 am
Lucretia - August 4, 2017 1:48 am
warmth of mind and heart. Thank you, Sean.
Teri Adams - August 4, 2017 1:50 am
The ‘”something” is appropriate because not everyone believes a humanoid manifested higher power. Making it a “something” means that everyone can relate to the grace of something bigger than themselves. A story that so many single mothers can relate to.
Marion - August 4, 2017 3:50 am
Goosebumps on this warm evening! Almost tears. Loved your story again. Nice to read these. I’m like some others in wishing we had more good news like this!
Alice - August 6, 2017 6:46 pm
Dear Sean your stories bring tears to my eyes God Bless you❤️
Suzanne Field - August 7, 2017 3:41 pm
I don’t like that “the poor will always be with us.” But it seems clear there is a reason — for the rest of us to step up to be God’s angels.
LeeAnne Fontana Montes - September 18, 2017 1:22 pm
I have been that woman and have also received unexpected blessings from kind people.
You create magic with your words.