The other day, I dropped my friends, Freddie and Betty, off at the Frankfurt Hahn Airport, about an hour’s drive from where I live. I drove up to the parking ticket dispenser, grabbed my ticket from the slot and parked in a handicapped parking spot near the entrance. After Freddie unloaded their luggage, we all headed to McDonald’s to grab a bite to eat and to spend some more time together before their flight.
We strolled around the tiny airport for a few minutes, but as it got closer for them to go through the security line and move to the waiting area for their flight, I bid them adieu with warm hugs.
Then, I went outside and started up my car, momentarily forgetting that I had a parking ticket to pay for. When that light bulb came on in my head, I got out of my car and used my cane to hobble over to the machine to pay for the time I parked. My eyes almost popped out of their sockets when 12.00 Euros popped up on the screen. 12 EUROS!!! I didn’t have 12 Euros on me! I didn’t panic, though, because I knew I had some loose change in my wallet. I prayed that the change would add up to 12 Euros.
Unfortunately, my friends had already checked in, and since they were already past the security check-in, it would be difficult for me to get to them to get some extra Euros from them if I was short.
So I stood by the machine and stuck my walking cane underneath one arm. I poured the loose change out of my wallet into one of my hands to count it. I was sweating bullets thinking that the machine had made a mistake and that my parking fee was actually 2 Euros and not 12.00! But there it was on the screen…waiting impatiently for me to feed it, the machine screamed: 12 EUROS, DAMMIT!!!!
As I was slowly counting my change, a young German lady came up to me. I didn’t hear her drive up or park her car near me, but there she was. In German, she asked me if I needed some help. I responded back to her in German, telling her that I didn’t have enough money and that I had more Euro change in my car which was just a few steps away. She ignored that and looked at the 12.00 Euros prominently displayed on the screen as she proceeded to help me count the change in my hand. Thank God I had almost enough, but I was short 1 Euro. She quickly pulled out her wallet and handed me 2 Euros. But then she went one step further. She took all the change from my hand, put all of it in the coin slot for me and watched and waited as the machine counted down my balance: 10, 8, 6 Euros and so forth. Then she deposited her 2 Euros to ultimately pay for my parking fee. After she did that, the machine spit out 50 cents change for her, and my ticket popped out of the slot…paid in full!
I was amazed at this young woman stopping to help me. First of all, I never heard her car when she drove up to where I was standing. It was as if she appeared out of thin air. She didn’t have to stop and help me, but she did. But before she left, I had to do something to return her kindness. She saw the relief and gratefulness on my face. I smiled at her and spread my arms out to hug her. She did the same, and we hugged like two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Then she left as quickly as she came, and I hobbled to my car a few steps away.
Today, I remain touched by this one random act of kindness from a stranger. This encounter is a perfect example of how God sends angels to help us in times of need.