I was eyeing the commuters on the subway train going uptown. There were two teenage guys around my age sitting in the back of the car. They were talking loud and jostling one another trying to get the attention of the young lady across from them. She was was totally ignoring them by listening to her ipod. I think this because I can see the earphones. An old lady was sitting near the door with a few packages and a look of sheer exhaustion on her face. There was a guy sitting across from me, who looked like he was eyeing me too. He was about forty something I would guess, so he might be a problem if he wanted to play hero. But it has always been my experience that most folk don't want to get involved.
Yes, I am a petty thief, and I'm good at what I do. Most times no one gets hurt. I only use the knife for show and to cut the straps of purses. My 'career' as I call it began a long time ago. After my uncle died, I had no one else in this world so I did what I had to do.
I touch the blade in my pocket, it would be quick and easy. The old lady sitting by the door could not be in a better spot. When the doors open at the next stop, I will get up, grab her purse and jump out the door. Too easy!
As we are nearing the next stop, I hear the guy across from me say something. But I am so focused on what I am about to do at first I don't hear what he saying.
"Huh? You talking to me?" I ask.
"Yes, I said, Jesus loves you."
"Jesus?" Oh no, a holy roller, I think.
"That's right, Jesus, and you don't need to do the thing you are about to do."
Now he has my attention. I touch the blade again in my pocket.
"Huh? What are you talking about man?"
This stranger saids, "God knows everything about you and he knows all your thoughts. It's time you stop stealing and try giving."
"Man what are you talkin' about?" I say, trying to keep my voice steady. During this exchange the train stops and I see the old lady, my intended victim getting off.
It was now or never, but at this point I thought the holy roller would tackle me. I turn back to look at him but now he is sitting next to me.
"Hey! What do you want from me? I ask.
"Your life." he answers.
"Huh?" My life? How ironic I think. I might be meeting my end right here on the "A" train at the hands of this stranger.
"No." he said as if reading my mind. He slips a tract into my hands. "Jesus wants you to have eternal life, but you first have to trust him. He has a plan for your life."
"Trust Jesus? What has Jesus ever done for me?"
"He died for you."
I can't explain it, really I can't, but the sincerity in his eyes or maybe it's the first time I hear that someone other than my uncle could care about me. I get up to get off at the next stop and I read the title of the tract. It saids "Today is your day." I turn back to say thanks, but He is gone.
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