I pulled into Walmart early in the morning, when the parking lot was fairly empty. It was apparently empty enough one man thought he would just cut through the open spaces. I watched him as I continued to drive the more traditional path, because it was possible we’d meet at just about the same place at the same time. Sure enough, we did. I slowed down, because I was pretty sure he didn’t see me. I was right. He slammed on his brakes when he realized he was about to cut me off. I was driving slowly and cautiously, so wouldn’t have collided. I assumed he was in a hurry. I waved and smiled and parked in the second to closest parking space. I left the closest one for him. But he had already found an alternate spot and was scurrying into the store.
I only needed two items and quickly found them. I scanned one of them in self-checkout then realized I might need more of the second item. I asked an employee if I should leave the other item and come back to the same register. She assured me she’d watch to make sure no one chose that station. There were plenty of other options, and no one else was ready to check out. However, when I got back, she had apparently been distracted, and someone was already scanning items. Yes, the same guy who drove across the parking lot.
I politely approached him and apologized. I briefly explained and encouraged him to keep scanning while I asked the same employee to please take my item off his order so I could move to another station. He apologized repeatedly. I tried to assure him it was just fine. I was in no hurry. He teared up and quietly said, “Thank you.”
It only took me a couple minutes to check out, and I was in my car when he hustled out of the store. I smiled and waved as I drove by, but he was focused and rushed. I have no idea what he was experiencing, but I prayed for him. And maybe that was the reason God allowed our paths to cross that morning. Some encounters with people seem casual, but this one seemed more purposeful, as if God made it obvious I needed to see this man and pray for his day. Why? I don’t know. But sometimes we don’t know the why; we simply know we must respond.
Stay alert today. Be willing to notice the path, people, and details God purposes for you.