Stranded in a blizzard, Until A Stranger Took Me In.
It was a chilly January night when I drove south on I-205, crossing over the Columbia River and into Portland. I was on my way to make a delivery at a jewelry store that I do contract work for. I had worked tirelessly throughout the day to get that batch of work done, thus naturally was eager to deliver the finished goods.
Slowly, I began to notice soft snow flakes hitting my windshield.
“This is fine,” I thought to myself. I had already checked the weather forecast earlier in the day saw it was only calling for minimal snow in the early morning hours.
“Plennnnnnnty of time,” I reasoned.
As I drew nearer to my destination the snow fall had become more intense, and began to accumulate on the roads. I immediately felt that I should turn around and go home. Unfortunately that voice of reason was replaced by another voice inside my head, “How are these people going to live without their precious jewels?” I drove on.
By the time I had reached my destination it was full on blizzard conditions. Harsh winds made it difficult for me to push my door open. I climbed out of the car and was nearly blown away in a snow flurry. Summoning my inner Gob all I could think was, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
After I made my delivery, I peered back outside and saw that the storm was as intense as ever. I knew that it would be extremely unsafe, if not impossible for me to get my small car back home (over 20 miles away). I called my wife and we decided it would be best if I just got a hotel room for the night as there were multiple options within a very close distance. I hung up and reached for my back pocket to retrieve my wallet.
This was when the slight panic set in. I had forgotten it at my shop earlier in the day. I thought perhaps Brooke could pay for the hotel from home and I could get a room that way.
It turns out, needing an I.D. to check into a hotel room is a pretty strict policy. I called multiple hotels explaining my situation and the closest thing I got to lenience was one person telling me they would call their boss and ask for special permission and then call me back.
I waited. No call back.
I opened the airbnb app on my phone, all rooms nearby were completely booked.
At this point I’m feeling pretty frustrated and helpless…and hungry too. (I’m suddenly beyond hungry now that I know my wallet is missing and I won’t be able to buy food.)
It was getting late at this point (past 9 p.m.), but my sweet wife was working on a solution for me. She made a call to the leader of a local congregation we attend, and he in turn made a call to a man who was local to the area I was stranded in. Within 5 minutes I received a call from that man, who happened to live only 2 miles away from my location.
He introduced himself over the phone and straightaway offered me a room in his house. I humbly accepted.
Then came the scary/crazy/fun time of attempting to get to his house. I was sliding all over the place and even got stuck attempting to go up a small hill. Navigating a different route, I miraculously made it to the cul-de-sac in which he lived. As I approached the house this wonderful gentleman was waiting by the door. He had a very quiet demeanor but was also very warm and welcoming.
After giving me a quick tour of where I would be sleeping he asked me if I was hungry. Giving in to my incredibly weak tolerance for fasting, I told him that I was.
We went down the hall and into the kitchen. Before I could tell him that a bowl of Cheerios would suffice,
He began to cut up a fresh salad.
I was literally dying at that point. It was past 10 pm and his wife had already retired for the evening.
“I really don’t want to trouble you,” I insisted.
“It’s no trouble,” he said with a smile.
Then followed the baked potatoes, and the beans, and the pork chops.
To say I was humbled is a complete understatement. I never imagined my day would end like that…getting caught in a blizzard with no wallet, to having a man I’ve never met invite me into his house and prepare a full meal for me.
My heart was overflowing with gratitude for that man and his family. I slept very soundly that evening.
I had no place to go until a door was opened to me, a stranger.
So goes the story of me getting caught in a snowstorm.
Sadly, it pales in comparison to a much bigger story going on. Families…men, women, and children are seeking refuge from the storms in their lives, ones much worse than the biggest snow storm Portland has seen in decades. Many of these people are fleeing oppression, war, and quite literally, death. They have no place to go.
Other people are unfairly caught up in “blizzards” of hate, intolerance, or inequality, solely based upon their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
As a business, Modern Goldsmith will never discriminate against such individuals, not only because it is good business practice, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Throwing politics out the window, I hope we can all agree that there needs to be an increase of love, tolerance, equality, and understanding.
Be the sun, not the blizzard.
I don’t have all the answers, but I truly believe we will be better off focusing our attention outward, and turning the “I, Me, Mine” down a few notches…shoot, even more than a few notches.
I’m thinking barely audible.
From my heart to your screen,
Bonus Pics / /