I piled the quarters onto the counter at the Shell station and tried not to make direct eye contact with the gas attendant. “Six dollars on eight,” I managed quietly, not wanting the line of customers behind me to notice my pathetic payment method. “Sorry about the change.”
“It’s okay. I needed the quarters for my till anyway,” the excessively cheerful girl responded a bit too loudly.
“Thanks.” I managed a thin smile.
Since I had spilled coffee down my blouse on the way to work, the day had deteriorated from there. My bank account was negative and pay day wasn’t for another two weeks. Given that my husband had just been laid off at work and we were almost out of milk, it wasn’t what I wanted to see. It felt like everything in my life was beginning to unravel like the hole in the elbow of my cardigan sweater. Consumed by feeling sorry for myself, I was finding it difficult to match the girl’s positivity.
Trudging back out to my car that had squealed into the station - I needed new brake pads and rotors too - I twisted my gas cap off and reached for the gas nozzle.
Why is everything so hard Lord? I questioned. It’s been so many years that we have been struggling. Don’t you see us at all? Tears pooled in my eyes at the desperation of my situation. Although I had tried to get full-time work for years, I was stuck doing a part-time, paid by the hour job that wasn’t secure. When my husband lost his job, my mood had turned a dark spiral downward.
Whatever, I rolled my eyes at God and started the gas pump. I flipped the little lever to keep the gas pumping, and slunk back into the driver’s seat to wait. As if this will take long, I thought, but I wanted to play a game of Scramble on my phone. Nobody was behind me anyway.
Once my two minute game was complete, I forced myself back out of the car and lifted the gas nozzle out. Placing it back in its cradle, I noticed that instead of six dollars, sixty dollars had been pumped into my tank.
What on earth? I froze. For a split second I considered taking off with the full tank without saying anything. Then, furrowing my brow, I marched back into the store with no idea what to do about the gas that mistakenly ended up in my tank. I knew I couldn’t pay for it, and I was afraid in my emotional state, I might make a scene.
The line moved along slowly, but heat crept rapidly up my neck. Being broke is so embarrassing, I commiserated with myself.
Back in front of Miss Chipper, who apparently couldn’t count, I bit my lip to reign in my emotions. “It seems that you punched in sixty dollars instead of six,” I said grumpily. “I would have noticed, but I got back in my car and didn’t see until it was finished. What am I supposed to do now?”
I was confused when the girl smiled at my situation. You need a good dose of reality girl, I thought to myself.
“It wasn’t a mistake,” she eagerly responded leaning closer to me over the dingy counter. “Someone who wants to remain anonymous paid for your gas.” She winked at me with a bright grin.
Standing stupidly before her, I felt a wave a guilt at my attitude.
“Really?” I exhaled, relieved. “Are you sure I can’t thank them?” I asked.
“Nope,” she assured me, speaking as if she were telling me a secret. “Sometimes, God simply wants to rain down blessings to let you know He’s still there.”
“Thank you,” I told her, not knowing who else to express my appreciation to.
“Have a blessed day,” she added.
Exiting the Shell station with a lump in my throat and grateful tears spilling down my cheeks, I knew that God was still watching.
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