On August 1, 2009, Sandy and I were moving from Mountain View, CA. to Portland, OR. We had packed the day before—both cars filled to the brim. I honestly thought if we put a cotton ball in either one, the doors were going to blow off. We kind of looked like the Clampett’s from the Beverly Hillbillies! Everything we had with us was in those cars… Everything!
We started the trip around 7:15 in the morning. Our plan was to travel 505 miles to Sutherlin, Oregon, spend the night in a hotel, and then drive the remaining 165 miles on Sunday to our new home.
That weekend, the Northwest was experiencing a severe heat wave. Sandy and I had been in the Bay area for close to six months and were used to temperatures peaking out between 70° and 80°… Well, not that Saturday. All day we watched our car’s thermometers rise. As a matter of fact, when we were passing Mt. Shasta later that afternoon, the thermometer topped out at 108°! Even with the air conditioners blasting, you could feel the extreme temperatures from outside.
About 30 miles before we got to Redmond, CA. Sandy pulled up next to me on the highway and started blowing her horn. She pointed to her phone and gestured for me to pick up… She told me that she had lowered her window and that it wouldn’t go back up. I told her to follow me and we pulled off at the next exit—parking our two cars at a convenience store in the middle of nowhere.
I tried the buttons. All the windows worked but the driver’s. We still had about 250 miles to go and it was over 100° outside. Just standing there we felt like we were melting. There was no way we were going to drive that distance in that heat. And then there was the problem of at least half of our possessions being in her car. We were spending the night at a hotel. The car and our belongings wouldn’t be secure with the window down. The only thing I could think to do was to call AAA and ask for help.
I spoke to the representative and explained our predicament. All I knew was that we were somewhere south of Redmond. By then, I was upset and was thinking, “Why us? Why this weekend?” Frustration was getting the best of me. It was Saturday afternoon around 2:00. Were there even going to be any repair shops open? I seriously doubted it.
The lady gave me the names of two shops that “could” be open. I called the first one and a man answered. I told him that AAA had given me his name and explained our predicament. He gave me the address to his shop and told me that he’d wait for us to get there.
All I could think was, “Here we go. This guy’s got us. He can basically charge me anything he wants and I’ve got to take it.” I put his address in the navigation system and saw that we were about 35 minutes away.
While driving I started to pray. “God, please don’t let us get ripped off. I’m asking you Father to help us in this situation. I’m asking you to take control of this because I have no control here…” I asked him to send us to someone nice who would help us.
We pulled into the garage and located the mechanic in one of the bays working on another man’s car. He told me that it would be about 20 minutes and that we could wait in the air-conditioned lobby.
After a little while, he came and asked me to pull the car into one of the bays. I went out and pulled it in. I opened the door and he went to work. He started pulling the cover off of the window buttons, just as quick as you please. He took it apart and started knocking little pieces of broken parts out of it. He knew exactly what he was doing. He told me that the part was old and that we needed to get a new one, but that he could at least get the window up for us. After about five minutes, the window went up. I watched him the whole time, but still didn’t know exactly what he had done.
While he worked, I was making small talk with him. You could tell that he was very talented at what he did. He said that he’d tried college after high school, but it wasn’t his thing. So he went to work at a garage, and liked it. He seemed to be about 30 years old and had a really nice demeanor about him.
After he got the window up, he asked me to go over to his computer so he could look up the part. I didn’t think that was necessary; I just wanted to get back on the road. He searched numerous websites. It looked like the dealer wholesale price for the part was going to be about $460 and that retail ran close to $700.
Seven Hundred Dollars just to get a window to go up!!!
I was thinking, “Here it comes…” I’m telling him we’ve got to go, he’s telling me to hold on a minute. He started doing more searches. He goes to several other websites and finally comes up with the part – Brand New – for $240.00. He wrote down the part number and the website and handed it to me. “You watched me take it out. Just order it and you can put it in yourself. That will save you about $400.00!”
Sandy and I were standing there. I’ve got my AAA card out because I want the discount. I asked him, “How much do we owe you?”
“Nothing,” was his answer.
He had a big smile on his face. I stood there incredulous. He’d spent about 30 minutes total helping us. “Nothing?” I asked.
“No big deal,” he said.
Sandy told me to give him $20.00. “At least he can take his girlfriend out for dinner.” I forced a $20.00 bill into his hand. I was blown away. He was just smiling…
“I’ve got to ask you a question,” I said. “I don’t want to embarrass you or anything, but are you a Christian?” He smiled at me real big and said, “Yes sir!”
“I knew it. I want you to know that I prayed all the way over here that God would send us to someone nice. You’re the guy God sent us to.”
I shook his hand and we just looked at each other with two big grins on our faces.
Sandy and I walked out beaming at each other. We were so tickled…
We had asked. God had provided.
And isn’t it always that way?
It reminded me of a verse I learned several years ago. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Or in this case, a window will be closed!