Across the parking lot: a man. He’s short. Gray hair. He asks if the kid is having engine trouble. The kid hardly understands him beneath his thick Mexican accent.

He is young. He is wearing a red shirt. A cap. He drives a Ford pickup that has seen better days. The roof is rusted, the wheel bearings are in bad shape.

The kid is on lunch break, parked in a grocery-store parking lot. He is eating bananas because fruit is cheap and he has a light wallet.

His windows are rolled down. He’s only got ten minutes before he’s expected back at a jobsite, to hang gutter on a three-story house.

It’s god-awful work. He’s not afraid of heights, but he certainly doesn’t love nine-hundred-foot ladders.

The kid finishes eating. He tosses a banana peel into his flatbed. He tries to start his truck. It makes a coughing noise. He tries again. The truck sputters. The kid cusses.

The old Ford has crossed the river.

These are the days before cellphones ruled the world, there’s no way to call the kid’s boss. His boss is already at work, probably glancing at his wristwatch.

The kid sits, wondering what happens after he gets fired. He could always join the circus and clean up after the elephants.

Across the parking lot: a man. He’s short. Gray hair. He asks if the kid is having engine trouble. The kid hardly understands him beneath his thick Mexican accent.

The man pops the hood. He leans inward. He tells the kid, “Try it now!”

The kid turns the key.

The gray-haired man winks. “I know what is thee problem,” he says. “We can buy part in town. Come. We take my car.”

“I can’t,” the kid says. “I’m supposed to be at work.”

“Work?

The man understands this word.

They pile into the man’s Honda, which looks like it’s rusting apart. The man weaves through traffic, and drives into a nice neighborhood. He drops the kid at a three-story house.

The boss is upset.

The Mexican man offers to stay and help hang gutter. The job gets done in record time. Bossman is not upset anymore. Kid keeps job.

Work is finished. The Mexican man carries the kid to the auto-part store. He knows exactly which part to buy. It’s not expensive.

After a few hours, the kid’s truck is fixed. The engine roars to life.

They eat together. It’s Waffle House. After dark. They carry on a conversation using short, basic English. They laugh some.

“You got family?” the kid asks.

“Oh, jess. I have kids.”

“How old are they?”

He doesn’t know English numbers, so he holds up many fingers.

The kid pays for supper.

They part ways. They even hug. The kid thanks the man for helping him keep his job. The Mexican doesn’t want thank-yous. Only smiles.

They never see each other again.

Until one day, years later, at a gas station. The Mexican man has his own business. He drives a big work-van. He looks old.

“Do joo remember me?” the man says to the kid—who is a far cry from being a kid anymore.

“I could never forget you,” says the kid.

Then the kid wrote this to prove it.

42 comments

  1. Sandra Marrar - May 27, 2017 1:33 pm

    Your stories make me believe in the goodness of mankind again!

    Reply
  2. Nicholas Curtis - May 27, 2017 1:40 pm

    Let’s get that $50 BILLION wall up so we can read fewer of these stories about the milk of human kindness, and the work ethic of these damn foreigners. Just sayin’…..

    Reply
    • Jennifer Wells - July 21, 2017 4:23 pm

      don’t be critical of this story….just enjoy it for what it is….we are all humans and us humans need to stick together! no matter where we come from…..just sayin’ as you said

      Reply
      • Kathy Elder - January 25, 2018 12:08 pm

        I do believe the comment was sarcasm. That the “bad” people being kept out are not bad at all. They are some of the kindest people you’ll meet.

        Reply
    • Diane Rinaldi - January 25, 2018 1:42 pm

      Bet he was here LEGALLY. Just sayin’.

      Reply
  3. Jan - May 27, 2017 1:58 pm

    This … is … real … life!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Suzanne Wright - May 27, 2017 2:26 pm

    Wonderful story, Sean! God is good!

    Reply
    • Carlin Brooks - January 26, 2018 8:26 pm

      Another home run!

      Reply
  5. Jane Wasden - May 27, 2017 2:47 pm

    This story touched my heart! There is always goodness in mankind … we need to look for it daily! Thank you Sean for helping us to see this goodness.

    Reply
  6. Ann Gaddis - May 27, 2017 2:48 pm

    I so anticipate your daily words. They keep me humble and I hope a better person. God Bless

    Reply
  7. Carol Goodson - May 27, 2017 2:48 pm

    I am in love with your soul. So glad you are in the world.

    Reply
  8. Phil Benton - May 27, 2017 2:59 pm

    Again…. Homerun !!!

    Reply
  9. Jerry Akridge - May 27, 2017 3:05 pm

    Dear Sean of the South,

    Since a friend forwarded one of your articles to me several weeks ago, I got signed up and now my wife and I are enjoying each one that comes in.

    We are both from Dothan, the Peanut Capital of the Universe, also known as “Down Home” to those who are from the general area. We can be called Jerry & Lucky of the South and are awfully proud to be real Southerners!

    You have mentioned several times about your Dad and how he died. I also had the same, awful and totally unexpected experience. My wife and I had been married just short of a year. I was a young Airman in the US Air Force and we lived in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

    A call from my aunt in Dothan early one morning. Pap was gone. Shot. Self inflicted. .22 cal. To the head. In 1963, a .22 cal cartridge cost about a penny. One cent. One penney took away the most valuable thing I had ever had in my life, a father whom I loved more than life itself. Pap, my strong Pap who could do anything. Gone. Nothing could change that.

    Since then, I have “iffed” that awful day so many times. If only I had known there was a problem. If only I had been on leave to visit him. If only, if only…

    I think of Pap each day and often wonder how much better life would have been if only he had stayed to watch what his son and wife accomplished in life and how much they would have loved him and would have been so thankful to have Pap in their married lives. If only…

    Fifty-four years have passed. It’s still fresh in my mind each day.

    Sean, I know you must feel like I do. But the good news for both of us is that God has a plan for all of us who have lost loved ones. I know you know Him and know all about the plan He has for us who know Him.

    Thank you so much for your articles. They are so welcomed as they pop up on my computer. A fresh breath of air each day for us!

    We haven’t met but love you very much!

    Your friends,

    Jerry and Lucky (a.k.a. Elizabeth) Akridge

    Reply
    • Jennifer Wells - July 21, 2017 4:26 pm

      Bless you Jerry! what a beautiful story you told and I can tell it was from the heart….

      Reply
  10. Elizabeth May - May 27, 2017 3:20 pm

    Great “down home” writing! Enjoy every day.

    Reply
  11. Bobbie - May 27, 2017 3:33 pm

    Awesome!

    Reply
  12. Suzanne Rainey - May 27, 2017 3:35 pm

    The last line gave me goosebumps.

    Reply
    • Chris McAllister - January 25, 2018 10:57 am

      Me too!

      Reply
  13. doris wismer - May 27, 2017 3:53 pm

    You just keep getting better.

    Reply
  14. Peg - May 27, 2017 3:56 pm

    Wow, never saw THAT coming! Great story! Doesn’t matter what nationality or ethnic group!

    Reply
  15. Olivia Grizle - May 27, 2017 4:02 pm

    Wonderful story. Warms my heart. Thank God for the kind people in this world.

    Reply
  16. Helen McClure - May 27, 2017 4:29 pm

    Angels unaware. All around us.

    Reply
  17. Cynthia - May 27, 2017 4:33 pm

    Love!!!

    Reply
  18. George Buchanan - May 27, 2017 7:44 pm

    Another great story to read this morning. Keep em coming!

    Reply
  19. Jack Quanstrum - May 27, 2017 10:02 pm

    The Kid. Great story. It is basic down to earth one person helping another. I think that’s the way that God likes to see his love for us ripple out to others. Thank you Sean for another beautiful real story. It makes me want to look for opportunities to love others in ways that can make their life easier and at the same time solve a problem!

    Reply
  20. Janet Mary Lee - May 27, 2017 10:30 pm

    Another extraordinary story! From an extraordinary man! Thank you!

    Reply
  21. Sandi - May 27, 2017 10:56 pm

    I found out about your blog a couple of weeks ago, and was captivated after reading one story, so eagerly subscribed. “The Kid” is my favorite one thus far, but actually everything you pen is a pure delight, Sean.

    Reply
  22. Jim - May 27, 2017 11:44 pm

    I live in Southern California, although I grew up in Alabama (War Eagle!). My family has been going through a medical emergency that has devastated us all. When I read your blog I am sure you’ve written them for me. THANK YOU! God is good…and you prove that.

    Reply
  23. Barbara Nelle Ewell - May 28, 2017 12:31 am

    Used to, I’d get up pretty early and read some devotional material, first thing – – usually Scripture. But now – – I still get up pretty early; for no particular reason; I’m old; retired; live alone, with lots of help in and out – – but, as I was saying, now I read your post for the day. First thing. Then I read some more ancient texts. They fit together just fine. I hope you know what a blessing you are.

    Reply
    • Jack Quanstrum - May 28, 2017 12:35 am

      I agree with Barbara. I read daily devotionals every morning and Seans writings fit together with God’s scripture perfectly.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Jack. It's always good to have someone to agree with you.Barbara Nelle Ewell - May 30, 2017 11:15 pm

        Thanks, Jack. It’s always good to have someone to agree with you.

        Reply
    • Carol Goodson - May 28, 2017 12:52 am

      Nice 🙂

      Reply
  24. Michael Hawke - May 28, 2017 2:54 am

    God bless you.

    Reply
  25. Sam Hunneman - May 28, 2017 3:26 am

    Gives me hope that all is not for naught… and man, that’s in short supply these days.

    Reply
  26. Patricia Gibson - May 28, 2017 7:19 pm

    A God thing!

    Reply
  27. Jacque - May 30, 2017 6:20 pm

    I love your stories.

    Reply
  28. Terry Newsome - June 10, 2017 10:57 pm

    Sean
    I love your emails.
    How do you make money while writing them?

    Reply
  29. Sue Thomas - July 18, 2017 4:39 pm

    You always manage to bring the tears I try to hide.

    Reply
  30. Gloria Watkins - July 21, 2017 12:27 pm

    Love this one!

    Reply
  31. Sandy - July 21, 2017 4:18 pm

    Just beautiful.

    Reply
  32. Cathy Callender - January 25, 2018 12:19 pm

    Hands across time … most times we don’t know what good or bad our actions bring to others as we about our busy way … thanks for reminding to slow down and actually SEE each other and hopefully, the ripple effect of our actions

    Reply
  33. Jeanne Butler - July 26, 2018 12:45 pm

    You are awesome. We need more like you. Just sayin’. Love you Sean

    Reply

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