As a solo dad on a benefit I was not exactly rolling in money, so hitchhiking was a necessary means of transport. Usually this was no problem as I asked God to provide the opportunity to meet interesting people or those who I could help in some way. The result of this arrangement was that it was most unusual for me to wait for more than half a dozen cars for a lift.
One day I had to go to Palmerston North for some now forgotten reason so I walked the mile to the main road and started thumbing. But nothing happened: I stood there for a couple of fruitless hours. I decided that if I hadn’t caught a lift by the time the scheduled bus came I would catch that instead. No sooner had I thought that than the bus came into view and so I flagged it down.
As soon as I entered the bus I saw a very sad lady. “Perhaps,” I thought, “I am meant to help her.” But there was no way I could find out because all the seats around and opposite her were filled. So I sat to the front of the bus on the opposite side and said a little prayer, “God if you want me to help her, please bring her to me.”
The bus went less than a hundred metres down the road when there was a muffled bang. The driver stopped the bus and got out to check. A few seconds later he climbed back onboard and announced to us, “We have a blown tire on the left rear. I can fix it but I’ll have to ask all the passengers on the left to move to the right hand side for a while.” So it was the sad lady came and sat next to me.
It turned out she was travelling down to see her husband on remand in prison. She had two small children and was finding it hard going alone. I put on my silly act to cheer her up and we talked of many things – both silly and serious. At the bus terminal we had a cup of tea together and I gave her a little prayer book. She departed happy and buoyed up!
The journey home was no trouble at all – I got a lift from the second passing car!