Are some good Samaritans angels?
29th July 2013 · 0 Comments
By Jerome LeDoux
Thoroughly enjoying their trek through the picturesque Smokies, Vernon and Jodi Newton were accompanying Ashten, their prize progeny, to the University of Indiana. To be sure, it was a bittersweet journey that took their beloved son ever farther away from home to a strange school where he would pursue learning, basketball and independence.
Alas, nearing Benton, Arkansas in their spacious Suburban, their dream trip was shattered by a broken transmission. Vernon winced, realizing that they were being forced to stop in the boondocks of what he considered racist territory. In other words, he figured that blacks were not welcome in such a rural area so far away from any large urban settlement.
Since the Suburban would go no farther, stopping was inevitable. Thankfully, there was an Econo Lodge nearby, but it had a very seedy appearance. There were many bikers and patrons sitting outdoors drinking and smoking. The accommodations were frightful, but especially for Ashten because he is six-feet-seven inches and did not exactly fit in the bed.
Much to Vernon’s surprise, they were introduced to David when searching for a U-Haul to transport the Suburban and family back to Texas. After searching the internet for options to get home or a repair shop for the Suburban at 11:30 Saturday night, they found nothing open in Benton on Sundays except David’s U-Haul.
Vernon left a message Saturday night, not really expecting to hear back. Bright and early Sunday morning, David called back. With very low expectations, Vernon explained that their Suburban had come to a grinding halt when the transmission broke down.
With a startling show of friendliness, the man outlined all of the options for getting home and having the Suburban repaired. He refused to rent them a U-Haul to tow the Suburban because it was unsafe. The most cost-effective option was to somehow get to the airport and rent a car to drive home, but the airport was 37 miles away. A taxi was very expensive and a U-Haul van was even more expensive. So, out of the kindness of his heart, David said he would take them to the airport for a low fee.
Meanwhile, checkout time at the Econo Lodge was nearing. There were two workers at the front desk who were very understanding and accommodating. The Newtons were able to stay in the room at no extra charge until they found a way home. The funny
thing was, though, when it was time to leave, the two workers were nowhere to be found. Vernon even went to the restaurant inside the hotel to try to find them, but nobody knew of hotel workers who fit their description. Were these really disappearing angels?
Not knowing what to expect, the Newtons were astonished as David pulled up in an old pickup and 32-foot camper/trailer with the windows blown out. A middle-aged white man with long red hair, David was very friendly and welcomed all three of the very tall Newtons and led them to the transmission shop that his friend owned.
He then helped them pack into the pickup and off to the airport they went! Circling the airport, looking for the car rental shop towing a 32-foot camper/trailer was definitely a sight to see. With a tight budget, the Newtons tried to rent a small car from Enterprise at the airport. Jacob, who worked at Enterprise, but not typically as a reservationist, refused to put the tall family in a small car. He charged the small car rate, but actually gave the Newtons a small SUV to drive home. Another blessing, another angel.
Leaving their Suburban to be worked on and ready to be on their way again in the rental, the Newtons looked for David, but there was no sign of him. They still could not believe that all this was happening. Much more than a Good Samaritan, David seemed to be a guardian angel there to greet them, hover around them and attend to all their needs, leaving them to wonder whether these mysterious comings and goings were Hebrews 13: 2 in full play, “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.”
Though they could not find him, David texted them, thanking God and thanking them for the privilege of having been able to serve them. He wanted Vernon to claim his healing and in closing he said, “I love you, brother.” Could this have been a case of sojourners having been texted by an angel? On their way back through, as if in the Twilight Zone, they could find neither David, his 32-foot trailer nor his U-Haul store, and the two workers at the inn who had taken care of them were nowhere to be found.
Yes, there are angels in Arkansas! A most fascinating word, ἄγγελος, the Greek for angel, means messenger. It is clear that God’s messengers are all around us, unbeknown, but appearing seemingly out of nowhere to minister to us. The longer we live, the clearer it becomes that we are not alone out here. God has graced us with the best of company.
This article originally published in the July 29, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.