Help Me Honda

You’ve never heard of him. And neither had I until this morning when I received an email from a woman who I’ll call Matilda. She told me about a man she knew years ago.

He was living in his car, parked in a big-box superstore parking lot near the interstate. He was mid-40s, tap-water blue eyes, olive skin, he spoke only Spanish with a strong Argentinian accent.

His dwelling was a beat-up two-door ‘80s model Honda CR-X, which is perhaps the ugliest automobile ever manufactured in the history of mankind save for the Ford Pinto. With a close third being a ‘92 Buick Skylark I once owned.

Nobody really knows how he arrived in the parking lot except that his Honda went kaput one night. He managed to push the CR-X into the store entrance, and after that it was home sweet home.

Each night he would lie beneath his Honda with an electric lantern and a Chilton auto repair manual, turning a ratchet, but never getting closer to actually repairing anything.

To avoid suspicion, he regularly pushed his hunk of vehicular repulsiveness into different parking spaces. Sort of like a game of musical Hondas. But management never ran him off because everyone liked him. In fact, the security guards helped him push the car.

Matilda says, “The employees got used to him being around, he was the first person to say good morning to me every day.”

Honda Guy quickly became a minor legend among employees. There was the night when a stranger placed a garbage bag full of puppies into the store’s Dumpster. Honda Guy saw it happen. He rescued nine newborn hounds and nursed them to life in his backseat. Later he walked several miles to deliver them to a shelter. He kept one puppy for himself.

There was the time an elderly woman’s car broke down. It happened when the temperature was over 100 degrees outside. The lady was beginning to have heat-related health issues.

“He found her,” says Matilda. “He lifted her up and carried her into the store’s air-conditioning, then he spent his own money on car parts to fix her car.”

The irony is staggering.

Matilda remembers one time when a shopper had a diabetic seizure on the sidewalk. It was Honda Guy who called the ambulance on the pay phone, then he accompanied the man to the hospital.

They say he worked small jobs to earn money. He washed dishes, he did construction day labor, he worked on a paint crew sometimes. But he could never hold onto his cash. Money passed through him like a diuretic.

His earnings went primarily to people. People like a 22-year-old employee and single mother named Matilda.

“He took a real interest in me,” Matilda remembers. “He was such a friend. I just knew he really cared.”

They would have long conversations in Español. She confided in him, she told about the obstacles of raising two daughters on nothing but nickels, double shifts, caffeine, and sleep deprivation.

Honda Guy would listen while she wept, he would embrace her, and remind her to “nunca te rindas.” Never give up. Then he would utter elaborate Catholic blessings, like ancient poetry from a bygone word. Matilda says she would have goose flesh.

Often after working late Matilda would crawl into her front seat to find anonymous envelopes of cash. Other times she’d find Styrofoam boxes of restaurant food, or hot pizzas with notes attached to the box: “Para las muñecas.” For the girls.

“He was always looking out for me. Always.”

He was attacked one night. A few kids jumped him and took his shoes, of all things. They knocked out his front teeth. A security guard found him lying on the pavement in a shiny red puddle, his dog curled beside him, whimpering.

Thankfully most wounds were minor, although he was concussed badly. They took him to Matilda’s home where he was bandaged and laid on her sofa-sleeper bed for several weeks.

Throughout his recuperation myriads of employees visited his bedside. Matilda says the visitors never quit coming. They brought flowers, oatmeal cookies, homemade empanadas, fresh pies, handwritten cards, balloons, new clothes, books, money, rosary beads, gift cards, and someone brought him a bike.

Matilda and a few employees chipped in to have the CR-X repaired. When Honda Guy recovered, he found his vehicle purring in Matilda’s driveway. His homely car had been freshly painted—bright silver. The tires were new. The interior had been detailed. He was overcome.

And yet he never drove the car thereafter. At least not more than once.

Because a few mornings later, the empty vehicle was found in the store parking lot. The keys were in the front seat. He had left nothing but a note which Matilda read for a small audience of tearful employees:

“Please giving this car for some one who need it. God bless you.”

God bless us indeed.


  1. Sandi. - May 27, 2021 7:31 am

    This poignant, heartwarming story got me to thinking about how many generous people perform kind deeds for others on a continual basis but never receive the recognition they deserve. I hope this dear gentleman has found another place to spread his good deeds. God bless him for being a blessing to numerous others in his own special way.

  2. Barbara - May 27, 2021 9:18 am

    Angels live among us.

    • Ernie - May 27, 2021 10:44 am

      I can’t remember exactly, but I think there is a scripture which encourages us to be kind to strangers because we might be entertaining Angels. Well said, Barbara.

      • joan moore - May 27, 2021 12:05 pm

        Hey Ernie,we can read the verse in Hebrews 13:2 and I agree with Barbara.

  3. Susan - May 27, 2021 9:59 am

    Let it be known, I never ever read your column after I put on my make-up. What would be the point? It’d all be washed away… Love your stories. Every. Single. One.

    • Kay - May 27, 2021 10:21 pm

      Me too, Susan. me too.

  4. Bob Brenner - May 27, 2021 10:04 am

    You always make me believe in people! Thanks ❤️

  5. Bar - May 27, 2021 10:53 am

    “Honda Guy” may have been Jesus. Sure sounds like him.

    • Marilyn - May 27, 2021 10:56 am

      Bar, my thought exactly!

  6. Brenda - May 27, 2021 11:44 am

    I, too, agree with “Bar”.
    May the continue to bless you for sharing His love with us!

  7. Jan - May 27, 2021 12:23 pm

    Thankful for this story, for the goodness of people which so rarely gets shared and for you, Sean! You remind us why life is worth living. Thank you!

  8. Kathy McLean-Davis - May 27, 2021 12:29 pm

    I have a strong need to know where Honda Guy went. And yet I know part of the point of the story is that we not know.

  9. ROBERT STORCK - May 27, 2021 12:33 pm

    As Alabama reminds us There Angels Among Us.

  10. Bob E - May 27, 2021 12:41 pm

    Reading this heart-warming story gives us a compelling reason to not feel sorry for our (sometimes) petty woes.
    God bless those who care and help others.

  11. elizabethroosje - May 27, 2021 1:01 pm

    Sean, I can’t but think that this man is one of the hidden Saints of God. Thank you so much for this wonderful story.

  12. Debbie g - May 27, 2021 1:26 pm

    Angels for sure much love to all of us and may we be called angels too 😇

  13. ruth41 - May 27, 2021 1:36 pm

    Sean, I look so forward to your words every morning! SO heartwarming to read instead of the news! Most of the time my eyes get misty. Thank you for this beautiful story! Just makes you wonder if Honda Man was an angel in disguise. Thank you for using your talent with words and your compassion as a human being to share the beauty of God’s world amidst the cacophony of the ugly.

  14. Molly - May 27, 2021 1:57 pm

    The world needs more Honda Guys! The world needs more Jesus. Thank you for reminding us that they are both still around us.

  15. Connie - May 27, 2021 1:59 pm

    Agree totally Angels Among Us .

  16. Phil (the Brown Marlin) - May 27, 2021 2:05 pm

    People helping other people. What a strange, peculiar idea. Hmm…

  17. lco1121 - May 27, 2021 2:19 pm

    Great, but sad story. So well written, as always. 💓

  18. Marilyn Friesen - May 27, 2021 3:21 pm

    This is fantastic.

    • Suzi - May 30, 2021 4:07 pm

      This is the “news” I want to hear, thank you for sharing!

  19. Susan Corbin - May 27, 2021 3:23 pm

    Thank you for another good morning. Sometimes my mornings start late.

  20. Carolyn D. - May 27, 2021 3:31 pm

    Angels come in many forms~

  21. Cathy Moss - May 27, 2021 4:20 pm

    This makes all your readers want to be better people. Reach out and touch somebody’s hand. Make this world a better place if you can. Can’t remember the name of the song but those lyrics just came to me. I have a heart for lost souls. There may be some in your own family. Reach out. I believe God calls us to do just that. What nderful message. Sean, you are a gift to many❤️🙏🏻

  22. Lee - May 27, 2021 4:27 pm

    I was so hoping for–expecting, that someone knew where he was and something wonderful had happened that improved his life–but perhaps that is missing the point.

  23. Linda Moon - May 27, 2021 4:28 pm

    I “heard” The Beach Boys and had memories of good times with my friend Rhonda and her sister Rita. It is SO much better to give with joy than to just buy stuff for ourownselves. A Holy Man named Yeshua taught that long ago. Matilda and the Honda Guy understood His teaching…and the writer of this post does, too.

  24. Nita - May 27, 2021 5:08 pm

    Really inspiring! Matilda had to be pretty special too!

  25. Kate - May 27, 2021 5:16 pm

    Always amazed at how you find love among us in so many ways. This one really touched my heart in a special way.

  26. Christina - May 27, 2021 5:40 pm

    Saludos al caballero argentino! And Matilda (that was smart, Sean)

  27. Frances D Lester - May 27, 2021 6:41 pm

    “What if God was one of us?” — Jars of Clay
    We are taught to believe that Christ dwelt among men. And that we are privileged to have angels among us. Sounds like the people at that Walmart cared for Honda Man as one of the above!
    Triple blessings!– Those who cared for him, Matilda who told his story, you who passed it on to the rest of us!
    Glory be to God!

  28. wherefivevalleysmeet - May 27, 2021 6:51 pm

    We need stories filled with kindness and compassion, particularly at times like this – it really lifts the spirits. Thank you.

  29. Chasity Davis Ritter - May 27, 2021 6:54 pm

    What’s the saying that said some people have unknowingly entertained angels? I guess this one just spoke Spanish. Thanks for sharing. ❤️🙏

  30. Steve McCaleb - May 27, 2021 7:56 pm

    I’m afraid too many people today are looking for wings and spotless white robes. I have a sneaking suspicion that a whole lot of our angels today have dirty hands and could use a shower from being at work all day. Don’t believe me ? Have car trouble on the side of a busy highway and see who stops to help. If you’re waiting on some guy in a business suit and a spotless manicure….you have my sympathy. It’ll be some working class guy who’s been on the side of the road himself and know how it feels. Angels are still in our everyday lives.We just have to be able to see them as they are. God bless Honda Guy….and all those like him.

  31. Bill - May 27, 2021 10:24 pm

    We have so much for which to be thankful..

  32. MAM - May 27, 2021 10:24 pm

    But what happened to him? Where did he go? I have to presume he was an angel among us and went back to where he came from or more likely to where he was needed! Sean, how do you do this day after day? Always bringing us heartwarming, eye leaking stories! You are an amazing writer and storyteller!

  33. Patricia Gibson - May 28, 2021 12:22 am

    Angel of God🙏

  34. Megan Frola Frola - May 28, 2021 3:39 am

    You a delight. Thank you.


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