Small Acts of Kindness: Starter Trouble

On a late Tuesday afternoon, while on vacation, heading to Pennsylvania, our van starter began malfunctioning. I stopped at a small town in Wisconsin and purchased a starter, but failed to find anyone to fix it.

We traveled down the road and stopped at a motel for the night. In the morning, I slid under the van and tapped the starter as my wife turned the ignition. It worked. We continued our travel.

Upon arriving in Pennsylvania, we went to Washington DC via tour bus. It was a great day. Upon return, I again climbed under the van and repeatedly hit the starter as my wife turned the ignition. It turned over.

I had a strong sense to attend a Wednesday night church service. We found a small church. On vacation we only attend church on Sundays, but not this evening.

After service, I slid under the van and banged the starter. This time it wouldn’t start. After several attempts, I gave up and went back into the church. I asked if anyone knew of a mechanic. A man stepped forward. He worked on vehicles. I told him my dilemma, to which he said, “No problem.”

I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I get the starter fixed in the afternoon? My only defense is youth. I didn’t sense the need to. Enough said.

The mechanic opened his house to my family. And get this; his kids were nearly the same age as my kids. We had a great time with our new friends in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Outside a storm raged but inside the house—peace.

When we woke up in the morning, he had the starter installed. He refused to take anything for fixing it and we were very grateful. We said our goodbyes and continued our vacation.

What we saw ten miles down the road sent chills through us. I switched channels on the radio station until I found the local news. A tornado had ripped through the area the night before. The time the tornado hit—the same time we would have been traveling through the small Pennsylvania town.

It looked like a war zone. Downed trees, destroyed buildings, and debris spread out over several blocks.

Had we not had problems with our starter we’d gone straight into the tornado. An act of kindness by a stranger protected my family. My sense of not fixing our starter but instead visiting our nation’s capital kept us from harm. Attending church on a Wednesday evening became part of the key in our protection.

God orchestrated our safety in the midst of the most famous civil war battlefield. That protection depended upon the obedience of his people.

I wish I had the contact information of the mechanic, but I forgot to get it. Maybe God whispered in his ear that his act of kindness saved a family from almost certain destruction, maybe death.

If not, I’ll give him the rest of the story on the other side.

Randy Tramp is a Freelance Writer, having written over 50 articles for newspapers and magazines and has released his debut novel, Night to Knight, published earlier in 2016.

Randy belongs to a local writing group, meeting monthly. He’s successfully completed Writing Essentials through Christian Writers Guild and Article Writing and How to Write a Novel through Believer’s Trust (a member) and was mentored by Dan Walsh.

In the Navy for 8 years, supervised inmates at a Federal Prison for 12 years and Children’s Pastor for 12 years, during which, on a mission’s trip, taught African’s about Children’s Ministry. His passions are to see families strengthened and relationships restored. A parent of 11 children (8 adopted) & 6 grandchildren, all ranging from 2 to 32.


Amazon Review of Night to Knight:

 It’s a military thriller with a heart. Commander Mark Steele has an exciting job in Special Forces. Though it’s dangerous, he knows his work is critically important. But that job separates him from his wife and child. When an injury brings him home, his wife is glad to have him back. But other issues cause struggles within the family, leading to distrust and hurt. Steele takes dangerous risks in his new work. The thriller plot thickens, as he seeks to save a life. But can he save his family?


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