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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




A Folded $5 Bill

By Ralph Hiatt
Sept. 29, 2013

In 1953, my wife, Frances, and I purchased a little trailer house while attending Southern California Bible College in Costa Mesa, Calif. (now Vanguard University, Assemblies of God). While we were living in Shady Lane Trailer Park, I was carrying a full load at SCBC and working in the afternoons at an ARCO distributorship in Anaheim.

After class every day I drove a gasoline tanker and delivered fuel until 6, then operated a service station each night alone until closing at 10. I attended the pumps, did oil changes and lube jobs, repaired tires and much more.

The service station owner, Harold, and his sweet Christian wife, Rosie, also lived in our trailer park. Harold was a hard man to work for. When he was upset, which was often, he could turn the air blue with his language. He seldom said a sentence to his employees without a string of curse words. He hired and fired 16 men during the first year I worked with him.

Early on, Harold made a lot of fun of me for turning in a $5 bill I found folded up late one night by the gas pumps. I was earning $1.25 an hour then.

After I had worked for Harold almost two years, he fired me in a rage because I insisted on every other Saturday night off to preach to the military men at the Victory Servicemen’s Center in Long Beach. Three months later, when I delivered gasoline to his station, Harold begged me to come back to work for him.

Perhaps the incident of the $5 bill came to mind when he said something like, “You may be stupid, but you don’t steal from the cash box!”

I needed the work, and I agreed to come back — on the condition Harold let me have every other Saturday night off to preach. It was a deal!

Frances and I kept in contact with Harold and Rosie after they moved and opened another station and car repair shop in Agua Dulce, northeast of Los Angeles. We visited them in their new home.

Years later, I was driving my little VW Bug up Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles. I felt such a burden for Harold’s lost soul I decided to visit him, although it was 40 miles out of my way. I was very disappointed to find no one at home. I placed a note on the door and stood there and prayed for Harold, asking God to save him.

I don’t remember how much time passed, but one day we received a letter from Rosie saying Harold had been wonderfully saved while watching Jerry Falwell on TV. They found out where I was preaching and drove all the way to Sacramento to hear me. Harold pressed a $100 bill into my hand.

Harold and Rosie invited us to dinner, and months later we drove to Agua Dulce to eat with them. There at the head of the table, the new Harold was blessing the food, praying in the same name of the Jesus he had formerly cursed. It was so beautiful it brought me to tears.

 Then Harold reminded me about that $5 bill I had found by the pumps and turned in.

I began to wonder, Could that $5 bill have chased him for more than seven years?

I am told Harold became as vocal in his witness for Christ as he had once been with his unfit language. Harold became a respected deacon in his church and served God until he passed away. I still am in contact occasionally with Rosie. Their son Donny and his family also follow the Lord.

Someone’s lost five bucks had yielded an eternal bounty.


RALPH HIATT is a retired missionary and author of the blog “Ralph Hiatt’s Argentina,” from which this is adapted.

 

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