Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)
TITLE: The Hail Mary Pastor
By Juliana Gonzalez
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“Oh, honey,” Glenn sighed, but before he could say anything else, he heard a knock on the window. Not wanting to embarrass Rita, he stepped outside and found a tall, burly man reaching his hand out to him. The man introduced himself as the pastor of the church that facilitated the distribution center. “It’s wonderful to meet you, Pastor. We’ve been meaning to come for weeks now, but we’re pretty ashamed about this,” Glenn said. “You see, I contracted Hodgkin’s Disease after I was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. It is a debilitating disease which prevents me from working. My wife is retired and we are just having trouble making ends meet.”
The pastor swallowed hard, trying to ignore the lump in his throat. “Well, sir,” he choked out, “Let me first say, thank you for your service. This country owes you a huge debt.” He paused and glanced at Rita who had quietly been watching them talk through the rearview mirror. “And your wife can be at ease because we have a VIP program here for all of our vets. We have a form that you can fill out and let us know any specific needs you have, and then we will have your food ready for you each week. Just pull up and we will deliver it right to your car. Do you think that will work for you?”
“That would work just fine, Pastor,” Glenn said, smiling for the first time since he arrived at the church. “Do you need us both to come in?”
“I’ll tell you what,” he replied. “Since it’s your first time, we’ll bring the groceries out to you and I’ll have one of our volunteers call you to set up your list for next time.” The pastor called to one of the volunteers, “Mario!”
“Yes, sir!” Mario said running up to the pastor.
“Would you please bring a load of groceries for our VIP Vets?”
“You got it!” he answered as he turned to get the groceries.
“Thank you, Pastor. I can’t tell you what this means to us,” Glenn said, now also choked up with tears.
“We’re the ones who are honored to help you, but I’m sure your wife is dying to know what’s going on,” he replied motioning towards Rita. “Why don’t you go and tell her, and I’ll go light a fire under Mario?”
As Glenn turned towards the car, the pastor pulled out his cell phone. Making sure he was out of hearing range, he dialed his assistant’s number, “Hey, Becky. I need you to shoot Maria an email for me. Tell her we need to start a VIP program for the vets, asap.”
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