Is Jadyn a Stranger-Angel?
This true story about a girl named Jadyn is so unlikely, but so compelling. It has to be a God-thing, and perhaps more than that!
I wandered into a Keva Juice store, and the manager said, “The usual?” She was a pretty young woman of no more than 25 years and she remembered me each time I came in, although I didn’t know her name.
“Yes please, and how’s your day going?” I asked because she looked a bit down.
“Not good.” she replied. “I took my car in to get it fixed, and after paying $200 it’s still not fixed.”
She normally presented a beautiful smile, but not today.
I winced, because I’ve been there. I offered her the name of a good mechanic, and she wrote it down gratefully.
About a mile down the road, while sucking on my Rev-U-Up-Red (carrot-beet-apple-ginger juice), a thought came to me. Why didn’t you share her pain? You could have given her some money, which would have made her feel better.
Well, I talk a lot about helping someone to hope, have even written two books about the subject, but had to admit to myself that I missed an opportunity.
Should I make a U-turn and go back to the Juice store? Nope, I don’t have time, as I have to get cleaned up at home before evening service at church.
After I cleaned up the thought intensified. It’s okay to be late for church…..this may be more important. So I put some cash in an envelope, along with cards advertising my books, and rushed out the door. The manager wasn’t in the Keva Juice store, but the young man serving told me he would give it to Jadyn. I had to ask him to spell her name because I was confused……..I have a grandson called Jaden.
Then the surprises started. Next day, I received a long email from Jadyn, which made me cry. The last paragraph of Jadyn’s email read:
“I would love for you to know sir that in just one hour I have had 10 people pay it forward to a complete stranger! I’m excited to see how many more will join in. You have shined light into my life, as I hope to do in others from what you started. Thank you again for restoring my hope. God bless you and the people’s hearts you touch”.
What did Jadyn do to get 10 people to sign up, and what did they sign up for? Read on…….
Full email from Jadyn:
START OF EMAIL: Dear Ian Palmer (Rev-Up-Red-Guy),
To say the least your kind and thoughtful gesture touched me greatly. In this world today it is rare to come across anyone who genuinely cares about other people, let alone a stranger.
I live and grow with a generation which I am not the most proud of. We (millennials) don’t have compassion for others, we go to social media to vent our problems instead of the church, and we do not respect the generations above us. I have felt this way for as long as I can remember, and I have tried my hardest to be one change amongst many peers.
I will be purchasing both books via E-book and will be encouraging others do so as well. A book I would love for you to pick up for yourself and your family is called The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. I think you’ll enjoy it.
I would also like to share with you what I posted to my friends on Facebook this morning after receiving your gift:
START OF FACEBOOK POST: “After I purchased my coffee at Starbucks today I left the cashier $20 to pay for however many customers it would cover after me. After such a gracious gift from one of my customers yesterday, who am I not to pay it forward?
As I put more thought into it, I decided to donate my entire gift from the older gentleman, but ONLY with some of your (my friends) help. All I ask is for you (my friends) to pay for someone’s coffee, granola bar, or scone, or just simply do something nice for a complete stranger. And then post a picture of it, plus tagging me. For every one of these giving acts I will donate a portion of my gift to a Charity Organization until it is gone.
Also with the envelope left by the thoughtful gentleman were these two cards (see picture of book covers). I will be purchasing both of his books, and I encourage you (my friends) to do so as well. I think the books will be great for teenagers, and anyone on a journey with God.
Please do something actually worth “sharing” today. Thank you all, have a great day!” END OF FACEBOOK POST.
I would love for you to know sir that in just one hour I have had 10 people pay it forward to a complete stranger! I’m excited to see how many more will join in. You have shined light into my life, as I hope I do in others from what you started. Thank you again for restoring my hope. God bless you and the people’s hearts you touch. Have a Blendsational day! END OF EMAIL.
Two comments from the Gray Nomad in conclusion:
1. How easy it would have been for me to just go to church and be comfortable, and dismiss the thoughts about helping Jadyn.
2. When later I looked at the scripture below from the Book of Hebrews, I wondered if Jadyn could be an angel….. a stranger-angel? What do you think?
The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers – being friendly, cordial and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously – for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews chapter 13).
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Very moving life story Ian, of making a difference in our world. I think you show your compassion for people in very practical ways. In Australia people down and out have the pension to rely on, and so most of us probably feel there is help for them in place. But there are still thousands of homeless folk down on their luck. Suicide is high amongst Young Aussies feeling there is no hope for the future…. in one of the richest countries on earth! In my small town of 1500 people we aren’t confronted with the huge needs you see. Keep it up Ian. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Clive for thoughtful comments. I am saddened by the suicides of young Aussies. We have it here in the USA but I don’t recall the statistics. I postulate that some young folks feel shame from something, but they don’t know about failure and forgiveness and grace, so the shame just hangs around and can in some cases destroy their lives. I talk about this in my book Weed and Water.
What an amazing story, Ian. I am so touched and encouraged by it.
You are truly a catalyst for God’s hope on this planet!
This is the word! CATALYST. I was searching my mind for this word a few days ago, and had to give up! But this is the word! I hope I can keep on being one. Thank you Karen.
It warms my heart to hear of people like you and Jadyn who care about people enough to reach out and serve and give, even when it means changing schedules and sacrificing time and money. It shows that people are priorities. Not an easy or comfortable lesson to learn, especially in our culture and with our self-centered bent (speaking for myself, definitely). PS, her beautiful eyes look like her soul shines through and is open to others.
Nancy, you’re right I think about our culture bias and self-orientations. But I know we can do both. We can pursue a career and have a family, but still open our eyes to (and be willing to act on) the needs of others: Jadyn and those warm shining eyes have shown us the way.
THIS COMMENT IS FROM SHERRIE MARIE PAGE ANDRUS, WITH HER PERMISSISON. Ian, one of my most memorable ‘pay it forward’ times was when a young airman straight out of training ended up in Germany. He purchased a small flat screen tv from me two days after he arrived. Since he didn’t have a car I told him I’d meet him outside his dorm to give the tv to him. We sat and talked for about 15 minutes and I could tell by his demeanor that he was low on cash and had never traveled outside the states. At the time I was in the process of selling most of my house hold goods. I later found out that airmen make next to nothing in pay so I called him back and asked if he felt comfortable riding with me to my house. I had cabinets and closets opened and told him to go shopping because there wasn’t anything he couldn’t have. I explained to him that if my son had ever been in a situation like that I would hope someone would be willing to help him and that if his mother were here she would be helping him, too. At first, he didn’t know what to do, still a little leery and hesitant to pick out things he could use. Finally, I got a couple of boxes and helped him shop. This young man wasn’t full of ‘smack talk’ he seemed to be an upstanding person. After the shopping which he kept saying over and over Thank you, just as we pulled back into the base he said if there was ever anything I needed to please let him know. My response was M—, just make your life count and be a good person and the next time you see someone in need try and help them out any way you can. i think of him often and keep him in my prayers regarding making good life choices. It is so easy for the young airmen to make poor choices that follow them the rest of their lives. I thanked God for putting M— in my life.
This is a wonderful example Sherry, and it totally speaks for itself. Thank you for sharing.