The Free Meal

She was standing off to the side, her blue-gloved hand resting on a trash bin. I would be passing by her, so I pulled The Passage from my purse and walked toward her. “Thank you for keeping the restroom clean,” I smiled as I handed her the tract.

“What is this?” she asked in a heavy island accent.

“This is about Jesus.”

“What church are you from?” she wanted to know. However, I didn’t want to answer her directly. I avoid naming denominations or even using “Christian” since a person’s definitions of these words are probably different than mine and may be colored by their experiences.

“I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and this tells you how you can have freedom in Christ”

“I can see that you are a woman of God,” she said . . . twice, because I asked her to repeat it. Her accent was so thick I did not know what she said at first.

“Oh,” I said. “Thank you.” I was a little taken aback, and also rushed, so I left the conversation like that.

I crossed the wide terminal hall and examined the list of burgers and shakes. Mike and I had picked this particular restaurant so we could catch a little bit of Gators football while we ate. We only had a forty-five minute layover in Houston to grab a dinner and board our next flight. I decided on a Swiss and mushroom burger and turned to see if Mike was coming. I didn’t see him, but I did see the cleaning lady at the entrance to the ladies’ room staring at me. I turned back to examine the menu. In a few minutes, Mike was standing next to me . . . and the cleaning lady, too! She said something to me.

“Did she just ask me to buy her dinner?” I thought and I just smiled at her.

We stepped into the restaurant and a waiter took us to a table in the back. As we got situated with our carry-on bags, the cleaning lady was there, beaming at us. After the waiter left us with our menus, she leaned on her elbows less than two feet from Mike, her blue-gloved hands holding The Passage. She began explaining to Mike in her heavy accent, with multiple sportscasters calling plays in the background, that I gave her the tract and I am a “woman of God” and could he buy her dinner.

“No,” he said.

We were surprised by her behavior, but also decided she may have been acting out of her cultural background.

We had a rushed meal and had to take some food to go. We managed to board the plane with the last twenty or thirty passengers. The only two empty seats on the plane were in the very last row. I sat down next to a huddled figure. I had a glimpse of a tattooed ankle and five large stars advancing up his left arm.

I will introduce you to Matt next week.

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