This is a shout out to my new friend, L. Yesterday after running all of my errands, buying groceries and my first tropical fish, I was ready to go home. I’d had a great day and loved my beautiful new red male fighting fish. I just had to run into the store and get one more thing. I thought about cracking the window but since I’d only be gone a minute, I didn’t (more about this later). I ran in got what I needed and loaded up the car. Just as I was about to close the double doors on rear entry to the car, I realized that I’d put the keys on the ledge.
I caught the two doors just before they closed all the way. Whew, I thought! Not. The doors had gotten hung up together somehow. I could not get them apart and the handle wouldn’t work. O.K., I figured, I hadn’t pushed the lock button so if I closed the door all the way, I could just open the door with the handle. Of course it didn’t work out that way. The door locked automatically. It was 110 degrees on the parking lot, my groceries and new fish were locked in my car and I was locked out. I can testify that this car is impregnable.
The road service, the locksmith and the dealer told me it was not possible to get in the car. Yes. It was impossible to get into the car. Needless to say, I was a little warm by then–in more ways than one given the heat and unsatisfactory responses to my dilemma. I called the dealer back again and asked if they could at least get someone to take me home to find my valet key to open the door. They agreed. They sent L, a “porter,” (yes they still use that word) at my car dealership to pick me up and take me to get the key. L came. He’s a stocky, middle-aged brother. I could tell the moment I opened the door to the car took one look at him and felt and the delightful sensation of cold air conditioning, that everything was going to be alright. I could tell L was a sweet man with a good heart.
Meantime, I remembered that I locked my apartment door key in the car, too. Not only that, the office at my apartment building was closed for the holiday. So, I called the apartment maintenance line to see if I could get them to unlock the door. They paged our maintenance man who then called me and said he’d try to get in touch with the manager and get the door unlocked. He called back with news that the door was open just as we rolled up to the front door of my building.
O.K., now I’m in and I cannot go right to the key–or so I thought. I grab the key, run back downstairs and got back in the car where L was patiently waiting. I had the key in my hand and after about four blocks of chatting, L glanced over at the key in my hand and said, “That’s not it.” “That’s a Chrysler key.” Yep–it was the key to the car I’d traded for my current one. So back home we go. As we drove, a sinking feeling took hold in my stomach–I knew I had no idea where the darned key was. I went back up to my apartment and started searching everywhere I could think of, scaring my cat, Kitty, as I tore though stuff on shelves and in drawers. No dice. I could not find the key.
I went back down stairs and told L that I couldn’t find the key and I guess I’d just have to break the window to get in. L said no. There is no way that we’re going to let that happen. L began to pray out loud and in between we talked. I told him where I worked and it turns out his sister’s former long-time companion/boyfriend (I never know what term to use in talking about gown folks.) works at the same place. It took a lot of head scratching and finally a call to his sister in California on vacation to figure this guys name was and that I did in fact know him.
We talked as we drove I told L about my work in community development and L told me that his wife had lost her well-paying, – job a while back and they had gone through some tough times. Eventually, they worked through it thinking that they had done it the right way–paying all of their bills despite the loss of income. They had done everything right.
L told me how he and his wife, once everything was straight and their credit scores in acceptable range, tried to buy a house. They suffered through repeated insult, injury and downright abuse in the process. Though they had written approval for government guaranteed mortgage guarantee, (L knew the rules of the program chapter and verse) and had a 5% cash down payment ready to go, each bank, five of them, turned them down. Despite the guarantee, each bank managed to keep finding just one more thing that kept him and his wife jumping through hoop after hoop, up to and including putting down earnest money, paying for inspections and an appraisal, then turned them down. Finally, after the stress of the process made his wife so sick she was hospitalized, they gave up.
I shared that I knew an organization that helps people get into homes. I the address told L about one of their projects. It turns out, that the office is in the same little municipality L has lived in for the last 30 years. He knows of the organization and their work and I knew, based on what L had told me, that he could easily qualify for a good, no tricks or hidden fees mortgage and urged him to go see this organization.
We got back to the parking lot (I’m sure my fish was chowder by then) and I commenced to search of something akin to a wire hanger. Something told me to grab one as I left the apartment, but I didn’t listen. So, I’m ripping up and down this upscale strip mall looking for a wire hanger knowing all the while in my heart of hearts that such a think would not materialize in this environment. I finally invest $25 dollars in a bendable duster and a magnet strip as possible tools.
Arriving back at the car, I see that L has pulled out and is motioning me back into the car. He’s called his buddy at the sister dealership where he usually works. L wasn’t supposed to work at my dealership at all that day. His friend says he thinks he can help. So, we zip up to the other dealership, pick up his friend D.
Sure enough, with prayer and patience, thoughtfulness his friend, D’s ingenuity, L. got me into my car when no one else could or would even try. Hat’s off gentlemen and be blessed. You’re gonna get that house L. That’s the reason all of this happened.
There are two morals of this story. One, is that everything happens for a reason and two is, when “something tells you” to do something, do it.