I wasn’t going to publish the stories. After all, who would really care about things I had to say? So, I decided to give up and let the book gather dust.

I was driving home. A Georgia interstate. It was dark. I heard a loud explosion on my passenger side. I almost lost control of my vehicle. I muscled the truck to the shoulder.

A blowout.

“Well, cuss,” I thought to myself. “Just what I need, a flat tire.”

But it gets better. I checked my undercarriage only to find I had no spare. That’s when I remembered: I had removed my spare and used it on my wife’s vehicle.

Double cuss.

I was interrupted by headlights behind me. It was a truck. The man driving was a Methodist music minister.

He gave me his spare. And—I’ll never forget this—while I changed my tire, he stood in the highway, shining a flashlight at passing cars so I wouldn’t become roadkill.

Here’s another one:

I was a kid, six years old. I was lost in a crowded shopping mall. I had never been to a “mall” before. The biggest place I’d ever been was the neighborhood supermarket where cashiers said things like: “You want me to put this on your mama’s tab?”

But a shopping mall. This is a terrifying place for rural children. I was lost within a sea of people until a complete stranger approached me. He was a nice man, wearing a corduroy jacket with arm patches. He asked if I was lost.

I was afraid, and he seemed to sense this. He told me to follow him. So, I did. I tailed him across a busy mall the size of six city blocks, keeping my distance. The stranger led me to my mother, then he sort of disappeared.

And after all this time, I still can’t figure out how a stranger knew where my mother was.

Then there was the time I dropped my cellphone in the toilet. I’ll spare you gory the details. I will simply say that I was on the phone with my wife when it happened. Her voice gurgled in the toilet water, and my phone went to be with Jesus.

This happened at a bad time. We were broke. My wife and I had been sharing one flip phone between us. We didn’t have a landline, just that cheap, ugly phone.

Now we were crippled.

That same weekend, I was supposed to chaperone a Baptist youth group across the Tennessee mountains. But how could I oversee the spiritual lives of twenty godless hormonal teenagers without a cellular phone?

The next day, the maintenance man at our apartment came to fix our air conditioner. We started talking. And it’s a long story, but in the middle of our conversation, he gave me a phone. Just up and gave it to me.

I almost choked.

And that weekend, I accompanied the World’s Evilest Youth Group to the Smokies—cellphone in hand. A good time was had by all.

Here’s another:

I wrote my first book years ago, though it still seems like yesterday. It was a collection of stories that were utterly ridiculous. Much like the one you’re reading now—assuming you’re still reading.

I wasn’t going to publish the stories. After all, who would really care about things I had to say? So, I decided to give up and let the book gather dust.

But one morning, I went to breakfast with a friend. My friend pushed me to publish this book. My friend even had a name for it. “Sean of the South.” My friend believed in me.

I spent my savings publishing the book. And for Christmas, I gave these small books away to my friends. More people asked for books. So I ordered ten new boxes. I ran out of those after a few days.

I am crying while I write this.

Not because I am a softy. I’m not. I’m a very manly man who uses ten-dollar chamomile and lavender shampoo. I’m crying because long ago, I thought I was alone in this world. I thought nobody gave a double-cuss about me.

In fact, if you would’ve asked me, I would’ve told you that people were inherently selfish, and cruel, and self-centered. And when given the chance, people would steal what was yours then eat the jelly beans your mother packed in your lunchbox. But I was wrong.

People are magnificent creatures with something wonderful inside them. And I don’t care if you believe me, I know it’s true.

And even though there might be hateful people in this world, they’re outnumbered. The lovers, the helpers, the songwriters, and the peacemakers are here. They’re on every street corner, in every shopping mall, restaurant, beer joint, chapel, and Georgia interstate. And they’re just waiting to give you a spare tire.

So they can change your life forever.

42 comments

  1. Helen Bullard - October 23, 2018 5:36 am

    Amen and Amen – may we all give a ‘spare tire’. Someday we just might need one ourselves. Helen in Ark.

    Reply
  2. Shelton Armour - October 23, 2018 5:44 am

    Good people do out number the haters and evil ones in this world. Thank God for that. Here’s to help with spare tires, lost kids in malls, and books that need to see the light of day. Bravo, Sean.

    Reply
  3. Allan Hytowitz - October 23, 2018 8:54 am

    Welcome to the Real reality of the benefits of a symbiotic society.

    The reason why geese fly in a V formation is the 71% lift they get from the flying geese in front of them.

    The old way of society was predatory economics. The new way is symbiotic economics. We share our strengths with each other and all of us are incredibly stronger and richer with that partnership.

    It is why God is no longer our Master, Father, or King, but rather our Partner. We do what is needed to help others and God and God does what It can to help us.

    Reply
  4. Kelly - October 23, 2018 10:11 am

    AMEN! I thank God every day for the angels he sends to walk among us. P.S. the line about the youth group made me laugh out loud?

    Reply
  5. Nancy Rogers - October 23, 2018 10:17 am

    Yes they are. Sometimes you have to look for them, sometimes they find you, sometines you are one. Amen.

    Reply
  6. Jean - October 23, 2018 10:21 am

    There are many bad people out there but as we have all found out…there are good people who I hope outnumber the bad ones!

    Reply
  7. Leslie in NC - October 23, 2018 10:53 am

    There are angels among us and I too have experienced their kindness. I’ll never forget them.

    Reply
  8. Selene Montgomery - October 23, 2018 11:05 am

    I consider these good people that we don’t kow, and don’t know where they came from, as angels. Yes, I do believe in Angels, and have experienced, and heard experiences like yours, that only confirm my belief.

    Reply
  9. Naomi - October 23, 2018 11:05 am

    Sean, I don’t mean to top you, but try chaperoning a van full of teenagers (with 2 other adults) on a mission trip to an island in Honduras; one of the girls had a tambourine (enough said there). We had to drive from Atlanta to Miami with the tambourine girl, sleep on the floor in a church in Miami overnight. The next day we had to fly with Mission Aviation Fellowship in a cargo plane, with one stop in Mexico before landing in Honduras. We then had to take a small prop 4-seater to an island, landing on the beach; the airport was a wooden sign nailed to a tree that said “AIRPORT”. We then had to ride in the back of the only truck on the island to make the morning church service. We were there primarily to help rebuild the pastorate that had burned down; this entailed going in a small row boat to another island and bag sand. We also painted the church and conducted church services and Sunday school; some dogs also attended (hope they got saved). In the middle of the week, one of the men got a call from the states that his wife had a heart attack so he had to get home, which the people at the airport on the mainland didn’t want him to do until he threatened to beat them up. Two of the girls got into a fight over the same boy; one of them got him; I got heat stroke. We were then under a hurricane watch with nowhere to go for shelter. The night we were leaving for home, most of us got food poisoning; I was praying for the plane to crash into the ocean and just kill me but nobody else. OH, I forgot about us getting eaten alive by sandflies. In spite of all of this, I wouldn’t give anything for the experience. Many young people were saved. One of the ladies, who was pregnant at the time) said that she was going to name her baby after me. There is a grown woman somewhere in Honduras named “Naomi”.

    Reply
    • janiesjottings - October 23, 2018 11:25 am

      This made me laugh out loud!

      Reply
      • Marty from Alabama - October 23, 2018 2:58 pm

        Naomi, maybe you could do a female type column like Sean’s. Would that not get us on a good take off on any day?

        Reply
        • Naomi - October 23, 2018 4:13 pm

          Marty, I’m not sure I know how to do that. I had a book published on amazon.com. It’s available on the Kindle reader and in paperback. Title: “Marriage After Retirement : A Survival Guide For Women”. I am 74 years old and the director of a Christian Non-Profit: Sent to Serve Ministries, Inc. We have been running Sent to Serve since 1984 and have missionaries all over the world–2 in Mongolia, 1 in Thailand, 1 in Peru, 1 in Brazil & 2 in the US. I think I have my hands full. I wish that I could publicize my book without having to pay a fortune.

          Reply
  10. dragons4me3 - October 23, 2018 11:31 am

    Been there, done that, got lots of my own stories. Some were lessons. I had a blowout a deserted stretch of highway. I had the spare, but no jack for my big pickup. (I found out later my dad borrowed it and forgot to put it back.) I’m miles from any houses in a dress and heels. It was long before cell phones. Suddenly a huge rumbling pickup pulls up in front of mine and every lone woman’s nightmare gets out – worn jeans, teeshirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve, scuffed boots, muscles out the wazhoo with tattooes over all of them – and Hispanic. The last bothered me the most. I remember thinking, great, I don’t know his language, and he’s twice as big as I am. He could probably outrun me, too. I wondered if I could jump in the truck and lock the doors, or if that would even help. He could probably break the windows with one punch. Yeah, my paranoia was working overtime. He strolls up to me, nods, and with much better English than mine, said, “Excuse me, ma’am, do you need some help?” I explained my problem; he fetched a huge jack and changed my tire in a few minutes. When he finished I found out he was a trucker on his day off. He drove behind me for a couple of miles to make sure the tire was okay, then rumbled off along his way. I told God I could tell a lesson when I saw one. I’ve never made assumptions about anybody since.

    I do apparently have a personal guardian angel who has shown up several times over the years. The first time I met him he was a little old man about 5 feet tall with a hunch in his shoulders and shoulder length wispy white hair. He reminded me of a gnome. I always met him when I had auto problems, a blown tire, a dry radiator, a head on collision with a jammed door that left me with two broken wrists. The thing was, all the incidents happened over 40 years and over a very large geographic area. He never ever changed looks. He always had amazing strength – he pulled the jammed door open without even straining. Never stayed long enough to even ask his name, and vanished without a trace before I could see him leave. God takes care of us. May you meet many more angels and take any chance you find to be one.

    Reply
  11. janiesjottings - October 23, 2018 11:32 am

    Sean, thank you for always reminding us that there is more good than bad in the world.

    Reply
  12. Sandra Smith - October 23, 2018 11:55 am

    I believe this too. ❤

    Reply
  13. Valerie Hardwick - October 23, 2018 12:04 pm

    I needed this today, feeling a bit forgotten.

    Reply
  14. GaryD - October 23, 2018 12:05 pm

    If there is ever a movie made of Naomi’s adventures I will be the first one to buy a ticket !

    Reply
  15. Amy - October 23, 2018 12:05 pm

    I Love This. All. Of. It.

    Reply
  16. MermaidGrammy - October 23, 2018 12:07 pm

    Just the way you changed mine

    Reply
  17. Jackye Thompson - October 23, 2018 12:19 pm

    Loved your story today.Sean those little miracles are “God ‘s Help”. The Lord be with you.
    Jackye

    Reply
  18. margefromnaturesgift - October 23, 2018 12:39 pm

    Just “Thank you”

    Reply
  19. Susie - October 23, 2018 12:50 pm

    Loved this and Naomi, God’s Angels

    Reply
    • Naomi - October 23, 2018 1:15 pm

      If you are talking about me, I thank you, Susie.

      Reply
  20. Linda Trammell - October 23, 2018 2:17 pm

    Having smoked my first cigarette at Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly – Teen Enrichment Week, I can imagine your pain. Still a good time was had by all & I learned my mother would drive 350 miles to pick up her sick child!

    Reply
  21. Jackie Darnell - October 23, 2018 2:25 pm

    I certainly agree with you. I have met many of those wonderful people in my lifetime.

    Reply
  22. Pat - October 23, 2018 2:26 pm

    I too was wondering how the man in the mall knew where your mother was…………………

    Reply
  23. Linda - October 23, 2018 2:33 pm

    Sean,Sean, Sean, as I have mentioned several times before, get new tires for that truck. You are successful now. But I must say that was a sweet story. Get new tires! Don’t make me come down there!

    Reply
  24. Edna B. - October 23, 2018 2:39 pm

    Awesome story! I too believe in Angels. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  25. Fran - October 23, 2018 2:58 pm

    Sean, you are a very special human being. You, and your writings, possess all the good things God encourages us to have and to be. Along with my BSF study and a devo from Max Lucado I read Sean of the South. Sometimes you make me laugh and too often you make me cry! You just have a gift!

    Reply
  26. Janet Mary Lee - October 23, 2018 2:59 pm

    We all love you. Who you were and who you have become. And you love us, and so many others. You have a gift, and you are the gift. It does not surprise me Heaven thinks so too….

    Reply
  27. Jenny Young - October 23, 2018 3:38 pm

    After reading this I feel a little silly about my comment yesterday!…’You need to publish a book.’ Ha! Just chalk it up to a middle-aged grandma who spends spends all of her time playing with the grandbaby rather than browsing books. I’m glad to hear you took my advice! 😉

    Reply
  28. Debra Galladora - October 23, 2018 5:10 pm

    What a great writer you are…

    Reply
  29. Debbie - October 23, 2018 5:57 pm

    And you’re one of those good ones!! I look forward to your post every day!! God bless!

    Reply
  30. Debra - October 23, 2018 8:11 pm

    I’m so glad you’ve entered my life. Thank you

    Reply
  31. Ms. Palmer - October 24, 2018 12:30 am

    The hate-filled are outnumbered, by a long shot, but it’s hard to remember that sometimes, because they are also the loudest and they get the most attention. Thank you for your wonderful post today.

    Reply
  32. Patricia Gibson - October 24, 2018 1:05 am

    They are God’s angels Sean and there are lots of them including you!

    Reply
  33. Michael Hawke - October 24, 2018 2:14 am

    Yes. Yes they can. God bless you for being one of them; The Good Guys.

    Reply
  34. Janet Gray - October 24, 2018 10:37 am

    Yes there are good people in this world. I am a survivor because people care. Thank you Sean for your wonderful writings. Our lives parallel each other and some way some how I want to talk to you. You are my brother from another Mother.

    Reply
  35. Mary Morris - October 24, 2018 2:31 pm

    So true. And I know that you are one of them!

    Reply
  36. Steve Winfield - December 14, 2018 3:14 pm

    I strive daily to be one myself.

    Reply
  37. Mignon Watson - December 14, 2018 4:05 pm

    God is good.

    Reply
  38. unkle Kenny - December 15, 2018 1:54 am

    that story was as good this time as it was the first time i read it. well done . uk

    Reply

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