Where Are You When You're Needed?

Sometimes you are just in the right place at exactly the right time. It may not seem like it in the moment, but later on, you realize that someone needed you and you were there.

untitledAbout 25 years ago, my husband and I were new business owners. Our furniture store was in a small town and there weren’t a lot of transportation services. But we were on a state highway not too far from an interstate exit and across the street from us was a car dealership. One late summer morning, we saw a young man slowly crossing the road from the dealership. He looked up and down the road and finally he wandered into our store. He was too young to be looking for furniture, didn’t have a car and we all just kind of stood there and looked at each other.

We asked if we could help him, as retailers usually do, and he told us his story. His name was Ethan and he was heading to Minnesota to enroll in college. We never got his last name and never knew where his journey had begun. But somewhere near our local exit, he had car trouble and the police had the car towed by the dealer across the street. The car would need extensive repairs and there was no way it could be done in just one day. He wondered if we had a bus station so that he could finish his trip to Minnesota and come back the following week to pick up his car. The car dealer had not been helpful and couldn’t be bothered to help him find other transportation, and he must have been far enough from home that he couldn’t get someone to come and pick him up. We don’t think he knew anyone at his college yet, so no help from that direction. He was on his own, with little money, and a broken car.

The nearest bus station was 20 miles away, not in such a great place, but it seemed like the best solution to his problem. So my husband said he would take him there. Ethan gathered up personal belongings from his car and off they went. This was in the middle of our retail day, but there was never any question that we would figure out a way to help him. After all, he was there, we were there, and he needed help.

We thought about Ethan a lot for the next few days, hoping he had made it to college on the bus. A week later, when he came back to pick up his car, he stopped by to thank us, and let us know that he got to Minnesota safely.

Now why would you go to a furniture store to look for transportation? Maybe just because it was across the street. But why not go to the diner next door and see if a truck driver would give you a ride? Or a tourist heading north? Why us?

I really believe that we are all put on this earth for a purpose and sometimes that purpose is to help someone, or make a difference in someone’s life. We just have to be willing to stretch a little and do the right thing when it presents itself. Ethan needed help and somehow, he was directed to people who could, and would, help him. Whether you believe God places you where you need to be, as I do, or you think it’s chance, on that late summer morning, it happened to be Tim and Ann who were needed to be useful to a stranger. And we were right where we were needed.

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