My encounter at the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport
One day, I dropped my friends 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. A light bulb came on in my head, so I got out of my car and used my cane to hobble over to the machine on the other side of the parking lot to pay for the time I had parked.
After I inserted my ticket into the machine, I saw 12.00 Euros pop up on the screen. 12 EUROS!!! I knew that I didn’t have 12 Euros with me! But, I didn’t panic, though, because I knew I had some loose change in my wallet, which I prayed would add up to 12 Euros.
Unfortunately, my friends had already checked in. Since they were already past the security check-in, it would be difficult for me to get to them to get some extra Euros.
While standing next to the ticket machine, I tucked my walking cane underneath one arm so that I could open my wallet and pour the loose change out into one of my hands to count it. I was sweating bullets thinking that the machine had made a grave mistake and that my parking cost was actually 2 Euros and not 12.00! But there it was. My “fee” was huffing and puffing on the screen like an angry playground bully waiting impatiently to beat me up for my lunch money of 12 Euros. I could sense the machine screaming at me silently: “12 EUROS, DAMMIT!! Cough it up!!”
As I slowly counted my change, I felt someone come up behind me. I turned to see that it was a young German lady. I didn’t hear her drive up or park her car near me, but there she was, seeming to appear out of nowhere. She asked me in German if I needed some help. I responded to her in German that I didn’t have enough money to pay for my ticket. I told her that I had more Euro change in my car, which was just a few steps away. She ignored what I had just said and stepped over to the machine to see the 12.00 Euros prominently displayed on the screen. Then she helped me by counting the change in my hand. Thank God I almost had enough, but I was short 1 Euro. Without hesitating, she quickly pulled out her wallet and handed me 2 Euros. I guess I wasn’t quick enough for her because she went one step further. She took all the change from my hand and put all of it in the coin slot. Then she watched and waited as the machine counted down my balance: 10, 8, 6 Euros, etc. Then she deposited 2 Euros to pay my parking cost completely.
After she did that, the machine released 50 cents change, and my ticket popped out of the slot. Paid in full! It amazed me that this young woman showed me a kindness by stopping to help me. As I said, I never heard her car when she drove up to park her car near 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 wanted 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. I hobbled over to my car a few steps away, grateful for her help.
I remained touched by this one random act of kindness from a stranger. This encounter was a perfect example of how God sends angels to help us in times of need.