Max left from New York City and had been traveling for several hours in the rain. His windshield wipers worked tirelessly as he headed toward a business meeting in Philadelphia. Sometime around midnight, Max got hungry and stopped at a roadside diner.
Max seated himself at the counter, alongside an elderly man with drooping shoulders, wearing tattered clothing. Max was moved by the presence of this individual, who looked as though he had walked too many miles in his lifetime. “Pretty nasty weather out there, isn’t it?” said Max, attempting to make some conversation. The response was a grumble under the breath. The old man seemed to be too despondent to engage in dialogue. Max finished his meal and just before he left, he turned to the waitress and asked, “How much for a baked apple?”
“Two-fifty,” she responded.
“Here,” said Max, pulling out three singles. “This should cover the price of the apple
and your tip.” Then, pointing to the elderly man, Max said, “Now, please give it to that man and just say, “It’s on the house.”
The waitress gave Max a warm smile and said, “Sure, will do.” And with that, Max turned and left the diner.
As he traveled, Max thought about the gesture he had just made. “Why a baked apple?” he questioned himself. “Why didn’t I buy him a cup of coffee?” Max pondered this seemingly illogical overture and delved into the workings of his mind until he came to a conclusion. “A cup of coffee from a stranger to a stranger may be a sweet gesture,” he reasoned, “briefly noticed, but quickly forgotten. Whereas a fresh-baked apple might jostle the old man out of his stupor, even if only momentarily, and maybe even allow his spirits to be lifted.” Max was satisfied with his reasoning as he continued on the long and narrow highway.
The night wore on. The endless white line became a challenge as Max struggled to stay alert and awake. He spoke out loud to the darkness but it was to no avail. His body was giving way, and despite all his efforts, the lull of sleep called to him. He was on Interstate 295 going south, when a huge Mac truck hit him on the side, pushing him off the edge of the road. Perhaps in the light of day, with different weather conditions, Max might have been able to handle the car and maintain his position on the highway. But now, Max’s car skidded and slid into a ditch. At first Max was shocked. Within a few moments, he was unconscious.
In the dark of night, with torrents of rain pouring down, cars just zoomed by. No one seemed to notice the accident on the side of the road. Finally, after some time, a young man driving by spotted Max’s car. He stopped and made his way towards the wreckage. The young man sized up the situation. He figured that with the weather being so bad even if he managed to call 911, it would take a great deal of time for someone to arrive. Since he lived so close by, he decided to take Max, still unconscious, to his own home. There he would call for help.
Shortly after arriving in the stranger’s home, Max regained consciousness. He opened his eyes to an unfamiliar face.
“My God,” the stranger said, “that was some fall you and your car took! It was sure hard getting you out of that wreck and into this house, but I tell you, buddy, you were mighty close to death there! Now sit up and eat something my wife made for you.” Max
looked at the plate set down in front of him. Sitting on a glass dish was a fresh-baked apple.
Passing on a kind gesture, enabling another’s spirits to be lifted-these are goodly deeds. The word God is contained in the word good. When good is done, God is present and when God is present, miracles occur.