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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)

TITLE: The Hidden Power Behind Iced Tea
By william price


The rearview mirror revealed a glint in Brian Tyson’s eye that caught him off guard.

I sure hope I can do this.

Brian was on his way to the Waterfront Mission in the heart of the city. His friend Paul had set him up as a volunteer there for a day. The introverted college student was told by his friend that becoming a minister was more than book knowledge. He needed to get out and experience God‘s Word in action.

This is going to be fun.

At the mission, Brian was introduced to the kitchen manager, a large bearded man.

“You must be Brian. Pleased to met you. I’m Hank.”

“Hello, Hank. Where’s Paul?”

“He called and said he couldn’t make it.”

“Did he say why? This was his idea.”

“He just said he’d see you later. You ready? It’s almost lunch.”

“Sure, why not?”

Hank led Brian to the soup line and showed him how to dish the lunch into the food trays for the residents and visitors.

“Do you think you got it?” Hank asked with a big smile that even his beard couldn’t hide.

“No problem, sir.”

The first partaker of the free lunch was a filthy looking, frail man who walked with a cane. His breath was extremely bad and he made sure he spoke right into Brain’s face.

“This vegetable soup again?”

“Well, sir…“ Brian had to turn his head for a breath of fresh air. “I don’t know what you had yesterday, but yes, it’s vegetable soup.”

“Yesterday! You’ve fed us the same soup all week.”

“Have a blessed day, sir. God loves you.”

“I’m sure He does. That’s why He serves me vegetable soup everyday. And are you just gonna stand there, or are you going to help me carry my food to a table? How many hands you think I got?”

“Sorry, sir. Yes, sir.”

Brian carried the man’s lunch to a table. By that time though, the lunch line had gotten long.

“Hey, who’s running the show up here?” yelled one voice.

“Come on, boy. I’m hungry. That little breakfast you guys fed us wasn’t enough for a pigeon,” complained another.

Brian made his way back to the serving line where he dodged insult after ungrateful insult. The last man he served threw soup all over Brian’s shirt and stormed out screaming.

“This isn’t fit for pigs.”

The young college student stood stunned as vegetable soup dripped from his clothes. He eventually grabbed some paper towels to wipe himself off.

This is fun.

While Brian cleaned up the lunch line, a thin looking, long-haired young man in sunglasses walked up with an old 32 ounce convenience store cup.

“Hey, how bout fillin’ this up with some tea?”

Brian sighed.

“Sir, I’m not supposed to give refills, but I’ll fill it half way.” Brian poured some iced tea into the man‘s cup.

“A half a cup! How cheap are you? It’s just tea.” The man threw the drink back in Brian’s face.

Hmmm, I enjoyed that.

The long-haired tea-tosser laughed and took his sunglasses off. Hank and Paul came walking into the kitchen with big smiles.

“You should see yourself.” Paul walked up to his friend and put his arm around him.

Brian just stood there.

The man with the sunglasses extended his hand to Brian’s.

“I don’t know if you ever heard of me, but I’m Brandon Gilmore. I host a Christian hidden camera T.V. show and you’ve just been checked.”

“Checked?” Brian‘s face was red.

“Yes, that’s the name of the show.”

“Checked,” Brian repeated louder and pounded the counter with his fist.

Paul’s smile disappeared.

“Checked! I’ll show you checked.”

Brian leaped over the counter, knocked Mr. Gilmore to the floor and started to choke him.

“What’s wrong with you, Brian? It’s just a joke.” Paul’s face was ashen.

Brian and Mr. Gilmore started to laugh and rolled over on their sides.

“What? What’s going on?”

Brian looked up at his friend with an enormous smile.

“Paul, you’ve just been double checked.”

Brian stood up and tried not to grin as he spoke to his shocked friend.

“Listen, Paul, I know all of this was good hearted humor and I’ll never forget this look on your face. But, I’m not happy because I pulled one over on you. This experience opened my eyes. Jesus used spit and mud to heal one blind man and iced tea and a practical joke with me. I’m going to start volunteering.”

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This article has been read 1163 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/01/06
I loved the title, I loved the "double-checked" aspect of it, in fact there was much about this story to love, including well-written characters...but I'm skeptical about the "Christian hidden camera" show. It just seems a little bit mean-spirited, as if its main goal is to catch Christians being hypocritical, or worse, sinful.

It's probably just me. Really, the tone of the story is not mean-spirited, but fun. Nicely done.
Esther Phillips12/01/06
This story was a surprise to me. I was really into it. Then the surprise jumped out. Interesting!
Amy Michelle Wiley 12/02/06
Very creative! In my experience surving at a shelter I found that the people were very grateful for the food--I'm sure all are different, though. Anyway, fun twist at the end!
Phyllis Inniss12/03/06
I don't like the hidden camera part of it. The article is a fun read, but such insulting behaviour would put anyone off serving.
Joanne Sher 12/03/06
Fun twist! Seemed a bit preachy at the end, but a creative take.
Cheri Hardaway 12/04/06
When I started reading, I was confused as to why Brian had a glint in his eye. At the end I understood! I didn't find it preachy, but did find the Christian hidden camera show a bit hard to believe. And I was surprised at the attitudes of those being served, that every single one of them would have a bad attitude. That said, it was a wonderful read, and I loved the double-checked ending! Blessings, Cheri
Cheri Hardaway 12/04/06
Oops! Forgot to say that I loved your title! Cheri
Debbie Sickler12/06/06
I enjoyed reading this and I think I get the attitudes of those in the receiving line. They were probably supposed to be in on it, to intentionally rile the guy up, but then he did the double check and the joke backfired on his friend. Interesting twist and I like the title too. :)
Catrina Bradley 12/06/06
I was appalled at the attitudes every diner, and a little put off by the hidden camera show also, but Bravo for writing it and submitting it! Enjoyable read, and on the 2nd time I took a different meaning from "This is fun." Love the double twist too. Kudos.
Valora Otis12/06/06
Well, I for one thought this was totally out of the box and refreshing! We have had some interesting situations working at a soup kitchen. My son got pinched by a "lady of the night". Believe me, I was a grumpy mama when that happened! Just glad it wasn't on camera! LOL!
Pat Guy 12/06/06
Shoot! I thought Mr. Gilmore really got decked!

I loved this scenario! I could feel the resentment grow (mine) for each ungrateful, stinky man going through the line ... and then when Mr. Gilmore got decked ... well ... alas there was a message.

I guess I need to go back and refresh my memory about 'turning the other cheek.' *groan*
Pat Guy 12/06/06
PS. I got he impression the men were in on it - right?
Donna Powers 12/06/06
I liked this. He went into this to help and ended up being helped ... got a little starch knocked out of him and then knocked it out of his colleagues. An enjoyable take on the subject.
Leigh MacKelvey12/06/06
The title is awesome. I love creative stories that aren't the "usual." Great job!
Marilyn Schnepp 12/07/06
A fantabulous read!!! Couldn't have stopped reading if my life depended on it! Great stuff. Great creativity. Wish I had half of your talent, Bro. You are my kind of writer! Don't ever give up the gift...you got it! (never mind what the Judges say...you've got it!)
Laurie Glass 12/07/06
Wow! I love surprises and you definitely surprised me with this one. How clever and well written. Loved it!