As a new author, I hadn’t had a chance to truly delve into my new roles as a marketing expert/PR specialist and other auxiliary roles.  Heck, I hadn’t even ordered business cards yet.  I’ve really got to get that done.  
Yesterday was a day with occasional sudden gusts of wind. Though it was summer, the
humidity was low–despite what the weatherman had promised. So I decided to make a couple of batches of my world famous…well at least neighborhood famous… mozzarella stuffed cheeseburgers and take advantage of the nice weather to promote my book with a block party since I still hadn't ordered those doggone business cards.
I drove to Kroger, got the ingredients and a few other items, namely beer and
ice, and headed back toward the car.

It  was on my way out to the car  to unload my cart that I first noticed the man walking through the lo, no doubtt asking for change.  He was shifty looking, disheveled and unkempt.  Probably from an all night drinking or drug fueled bender I thought.  Why did these
people keep harassing all of us hard working respectable folks? 

I half yelled, “I don’t carry cash!” and pointed to my purse in an effort to keep him away from me.  Who knew what he was capable of doing.  He turned to look at me, with a strange expression and started heading my way. As he picked up speed, I started to panic. What was he doing?  Was he planning to tackle me, throw me into the car and speed away, never to be seen again?  He raced twenty yards or so while pointing at a wayward shopping cart that had somehow managed to free itself from the confines of the cart corral and head straight for me.  He had hurled himself at the cart and managed to stop it only inches before impact.

I laughed in short, relieved snorts when I realized that:
1). The gentleman whom I had just ridiculed in broad daylight by screaming at him about my current cashless situation wasn’t intending to rob or rape me and
2). My Pathfinder had just been saved from yet another shopping cart collision.  

The lady in the parking spot beside me didn’t think that this was any laughing 
matter. She snapped, “You think that’s funny?”  I shrugged. “I actually thought it was kind of heroic.”

"You shouldn't encourage them.  It just makes it worse for the rest of us!" She scowled and then ducked into her car.

Now I was in a bit of a conundrum.  This guy that I had just written off as a drunk/druggie had just saved me from what was certain to be at least a $1,000 repair to my car.  I could give him $20, thank him for his efforts and dismiss him or I could do
something a bit more substantial.  I chose more substantial.  
So, now we are in the Subway Restaurant, ordering lunch. I figure the best way to
express my gratitude was to offer him something he needed: good food and good
company.  Besides, I wanted to know more about my new guardian angel.  As we sat down to eat, his eyes darted to the large picture window and then takes off running. My jaw dropped. 

The girl at the counter and I watch him fly across the parking lot. He snags the scruff of a stray dog just before a lady backs over him.  The dog was so appreciative, he thumped his tail wildly and gave the man an enthusiastic face washing.

The girl at the counter gushes, “He’s like that.”
“Like what?” I say. "Superman?"
"He’s like a guardian angel. You know, the way he dashes off and helps people.”

“Well,” I said. “The world needs more of that... angels.”

“It does,” she said. “It’s too bad that something as tragic as killing your family by driving drunk is what it takes to make them.  I guess he's trying to right the wrong.”
“Yes,” I said sadly, instantly regretting the conclusions I’d drawn about this man earlier. “I guess everyone has a story.”

She looked out the window thoughtfully for a moment before turning her attention back to the sandwich counter. “Yeah, I guess they do. Some are better than others.”

“Yeah,” I agreed and began gathering the remnants of our lunch.
She arched her brows. “So, what’s your story?” she asked. 
“Mine?”  I looked at her and smiled.  “Which one?”
6/15/2012 04:40:03 pm

Wow, what an amazing man. Good for you for doing something more substantial. If there were more people like you and him this world would be amazing.

6/22/2012 12:50:56 am

I love this! We'll never know someone else's story if we don't make the effort to learn it. Often we're quick to judge, too busy to make connections, and too self-absorbed to care. Thank you for the reminder and for sharing this man's story.


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