Last week, I had one of those days. It was a Wednesday morning, it was the 4:00 hour -- that 0400 not 1600 -- and I pulled in to a gas station to get gas. Made sure I had everything in order, got out, and started the process to gas up.
I'm dressed in my standard work attire: dress pants, dress shoes, dress shirt, tie, jacket. My wallet is in my jacket pocket on my left side. Right next to my .380 in its holster. When I pulled in, I checked the lot and the area around the station, which was situation on the corner. It's on the outskirts of town, and there is wooded area nearby, so caution is always advised at off hours. 4:00 AM is an off hour.
Put the credit card in the slot -- first checking for a skimmer, of course -- enter my ZIP code, select the fuel type, and begin the process of gassing up the ride. Now the waiting. And that's when I made my mistake.
I don't carry money in my wallet. I don't carry a lot of cash, but what little I do carry is separate from my wallet. As I waited for the fuel to fill the tank, I put my hand in my pocket. My cash was in disarray. Normally, it's neatly arranged by denomination -- ones on top, followed by fives, tens, and twenties, if I am carrying those bills. All neatly stacked, and all facing the same way. It's easier for me that way. Only, when my hand went into my pocket, the cash wasn't neatly stacked. Nor sure what happened, but that was unacceptable. What I did was more unacceptable.
I pulled the cash out and sorted the few bills I was carrying. Lined them all up -- that was the major issue; some were sideways -- and put the cash back in my pocket. That mistake allowed two things to happen:
- I took my eyes off my surroundings
- I allowed other eyes to see I was carrying cash
"Good morning," came the voice.
I turn my head slowly, saw the young man approaching from the road. I nodded my head, "Good morning, sir."
As I turned back to finish pumping the gas, he spoke again. "Do you mind if I pray with you?"
Just in case you're not aware, if someone approaches you at a gas station and asks to pray, he's probably not a traveling evangelist, but rather someone looking for money. Even if he is a traveling evangelist, he's still someone looking for money. I wasn't in the mood for whatever he had going on.
I looked back at him, "You don't need me for you to pray." I turned back to my task, checking to ensure my jacket was open for easy access to my .380, if needed. You never know how someone reacts to something unexpected. I don't think he expected my response.
His path turned from directly approaching me to one of heading to his right, down the road away from the gas station.
"Jesus love you. He loves you." the young man said as he walked away, keeping an eye on me.
Jesus does love me. But I don't think he's too keen on people using His name for panhandling.