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Are you ready to be God’s messenger of Good News at any time, at any place? Here’s the true story of someone who vacationed in Las Vegas to be with her family, and found herself right in the middle of an opportunity to share God’s love.
Saturday night, we headed up to our room to eat. At the last minute, we decided to eat in the cafe. We turned quickly, and as we entered the restaurant, we bumped into a man who was in his mid-50’s. He asked us if we would share a meal with him, for he had accumulated comp time ~ there was no charge for his meal and three extras. We accepted. As we sat there eating with this stranger, I asked myself, “Why are we here? This is weird. We never do this.”
He was so nice to us. He ordered a bunch of food and began talking with us a lot! I listened, but his way of thinking and his life were so sad. He was negative about everything, from his sister to the hotel. How unhappy he was about his service! He said that yesterday he had ordered half the menu and then left it on the table and walked off ~ just to aggravate the staff.
I realized that this dinner was going to be more than I had imagined, so I prayed. I asked the Lord to minister to this man through me, and to keep me from placing my big foot in my mouth! As he continued to describe the incident with the meal, I asked him: “Did you enjoy that? How did it make you feel?”
He said, “Not good. I felt stupid!” We continued to listen as he shared his sad life. It was sad because he seemed to want to give, but he was generous in order to buy love. He said that there are so many gifts he gives. We were not the first. Apparently during his entire visit to Las Vegas, he was giving to everyone he met. He said he had tried to give theater tickets to a pair of women, and they said no but wanted to cash in the tickets. He was so offended.
When the food arrived, I suggested that we say grace. He replied, “Let’s pray to our casino God.”
That’s when I knew it was time to share some of my faith, and that the meeting was not coincidental. I told him I had my God and it wasn’t a casino God. By the time the meal was over and he was going to pay, I said it was not necessary, that he did not have to buy our company. I tried to share with him that his act of kindness was all we needed. Did he realize this, I asked? He continued talking about his comp time, about what he could get from this hotel.
I adamantly said, “Listen, please!” He fell silent. “It’s not about money. It’s about spending time with others and appreciating this time ~ and we do appreciate it!”
He looked so baffled and continued to insist that he pay. My husband said, “Listen to her. It’s not about money, it’s about love. Listen to what she is telling you!” Then he shoved the money into the man’s hand, and off we went.
As we walked out of the cafe, I said to the man, “Thank you! Please be happy, okay? Can you try to be happy?”
He answered, “I’ll try.” We never saw him again.
Graces were flowing. My whole family felt invigorated by the encounter. The next morning, one of them said, “Maybe he was an angel!”
I said, “No, an angel would not be so sad and negative.” I then thought, maybe it was a test. Who knows? Maybe we were the angels!
© 1998 by Rosie Bridges
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