Last weekend, I was traveling for work, and was at a rest stop along I-75 just north of Cincinnati. As I walked into the ladies’ room, I could hear someone sobbing in one of the stalls. Once in my own stall (fine, TMI), I realized the girl in the next stall was both sobbing and talking on the phone.
She and her 7-year old had been in northern Ohio to attend her brother’s funeral the previous day. Now, her fuel light was on, and when she went to refuel, she discovered her paycheck was being deposited on Monday instead of the usual Friday, due to the Memorial Day holiday. So here she was, stuck in southern Ohio without a penny, with a young child, and she lives in Tennessee.
Needless to say, I started crying, too. I have been there – a single mom with no money and still needing to be able to feed my kid or drive my car, feeling completely helpless. Seeing as how I myself had no money on me, I simply asked G-d to please help her, because I knew I couldn’t.
While this is happening, another woman came into the bathroom and went into the third stall. I’m sure she too was listening. I know, it’s rude to eavesdrop. But hey, she’s on a phone in the public restroom – it can’t be helped. The third-stall woman came out and I thought she had left. As it turns out, she was waiting for the young mom by the sinks. When that young lady finally went to leave the restroom, I heard from the third stall lady “Excuse me, but I’d like to help you. I’d like to buy you a tank of gas, and I also have some snacks in my car that you can give your son, so he won’t be hungry but you won’t have to spend extra money.”
There was a moment of silence before the girl started crying and said, “I don’t know how I can thank you.” To which the third stall lady replied, “I’m happy to do it. And I heard what you said on the phone. G-d doesn’t hate you. G-d loves you, and that’s why He sent me to the ladies’ room today. Here’s $40 – which is plenty to buy a full tank. Now, let’s go get your son and those snacks.”
At this point, I broke down into full ugly cry. I knew it was answered prayer. Just like all the times I have asked something similar. I finally collected myself and as I was leaving, I saw the three of them driving away.
Third stall lady, I obviously don’t know your name, but thank you for being a beautiful human being. I hope you are blessed 100 fold.
Young mom, I obviously don’t know your name either. I hope you and your little boy made it back to Tennessee safely. I hope you will always remember this moment, and try to pay it forward when you are able. I hope you are also blessed.
And readers, I don’t know your names either, but I hope that your lives are blessed as well.
I know witnessing this has definitely blessed mine.