I have forgotten the year, but never the kindness of a good samaritan. It was in the late 1970s. I had given up on God, church and prayer, and I was a skid row bum lazing around in Wichita, Kan. I remember it was Dec. 24 and I had a quarter. It was enough for bus fare to go somewhere north on the North Waco bus. I sat there on the last bus out, it was snowy, cold, night. I was tired and hungry - very hungry, broke, dirty and out of work. I am surprised they let me on the bus.
Just before the bus was to pull out, an old man maybe 80 or older got on the bus load of tired, weary workers and shoppers. I was sitting toward the back. He walked down the isle handing out white envelopes to everyone on the bus, he even gave me one and as he stepped out the back door of the bus he yelled out "Merry Christmas!" and disappeared into the dark snowy cold of Christmas eve.
I thought, yea right, Merry Christmas, bah humbug baloney. All of a sudden starting at the front of the bus working its way back to me, the entire bus load of tired people were smiling and talking. Some started to sing Christmas songs. I wondered what in the world was going on.
Then the guy in front of me said to me, "open your envelope." I did, and there was a brand new one dollar bill and a note that said Merry Christmas. (I was rich. I had a whole dollar - a whole dollar.)
I took the bus to McDonald's in the 700 block of North Broadway and got me a single hamburger and a chocolate shake for less than a dollar total, with change left over. I was in desperate condition but I had food that I paid real money for.
It would be several years later after I came back to the Lord that I went back there to try to find that old man. No cigar. He no longer did this around Christmas. But I never forgot his kindness. I was starving that night and he gave me a gift of a whole American dollar -me a total stranger. I never forgot that kindness. And now it is my turn. No, a dollar does not buy a hamburger and shake, it takes several dollars to do that, but I put a dollar in an envelope anyway and hand some out on the street at random in Marshalltown. Some people throw them on the street or in the trash and walk away. They dont even take time to see what is inside. Some open them, see a dollar, put in pocket and walk away. Others just walk away holding them unopened. I never forgot that man's kindness all these years.