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Stories from the road: The Angels Among Us

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

It's been a long 8 days. From Tuesday to Tuesday, I drove 2981 miles, which included a couple of days off for the weekend. The trip included 12 vehicle moves, 11 states, 3 Ubers, 3 nights in a hotel, and countless meals out. Today, I hit a bit of a wall.

Now, I don't pretend that what I do is difficult compared to what a truck driver does, but there were some long days, including four straight that started before 7 a.m. and lasted past 10 or 11. Some long days, indeed, alone in my thoughts. And thoughts I did have, including the following.

In making a trip run smooth, it does require help from people. For me, it's persons that I may see one time and never again. What struck me this past week is the number of service industry people that went out of there way to do their job, and did so with a smile and cheerful attitude.

In fact, I would almost call them angelic.

I think of a guy named J.B. at a car detail shop in Greenville, NC. I arrived at a storage place in Greenville expecting a vehicle to be clean at pickup in order for me to make a delivery in the Washington DC area that afternoon. When I arrived, the job wasn't done and would not be done by the facility. So, left to my own devices, I called around to places and found this guy. Hearing my panic, he said bring it in. There hours later, I was heading towards I-95 North.

I think of Catherine, a BMV worker near Ft. Wayne, IN. I was to get an inspection done and the visit took about ten minutes. Now, bureaucratic workers get a lot of grief and work in settings that are not exactly cheerful. Yet, this young lady in her twenties, who greeted me with a beaming smile and made sure this out-of-state traveler had everything I needed to do my job.

I think of the two East Asian women (guessing Korean or Vietnamese, based on the menu) that run a small breakfast/ lunch nook in Alexandria, VA. Seeing me struggle with a syrup bottle, (yes, I know) one of the ladies rushed to my aid to get it figured out. The other one, seeing me organize my leftover dishes, rushed to clean up the table for me.

I think of a young waitress at a dive bar / restaurant in Wheeling, WV. She was the only one waitressing tables, busing tables, taking orders, delivering food, and bartending. Yet, she went out of her way to make everyone feel at home, and did so with a smile. I don't know that the food was exactly outstanding, but I would go back here again simply because of her attitude.

I think of the young receptionist at a car dealership in Smyrna, GA, who greeted me with a smile, made joking barbs with the salesman I was looking for, to the point of making me laugh. She made sure I had what I needed, got me connected with my contact and did so with a smile.

I am certainly now angel, as the scripture above refers to, but the hospitality I was treated to, not only on this trip, but as a extraordinary general rule, made me feel like one. For me, in the last, they were the angels I needed along a tiresome week.

We hear so much lately about how "people don't want to work" any more, especially young people. However, that seems stereotypical to me. This past week showed me - again and again - that there are young adults that do take pride in what they do, and who want to be of service to those with whom they come in contact.

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