Travel Day — Unexpected Kindness

With my suitcase packed, along with my camera and backpack, I had my itinerary all planned out: drive down to Kentucky and park my car at a Lutheran church near the Cincinnati airport, contact Uber and get a ride to the terminal. After breakfast with my lovely wife, I headed down the road.

I arrived at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and was warmly greeted by Tina, the Administrative Assistant at the church. I had contacted the church ahead of time to ask if I could park there for the next couple of weeks. Tina welcomed me, offered to drive me herself, and offered coffee and a place to stay while waiting for my ride. Tina’s hospitality made me feel right at home, even if she didn’t care for my University of Michigan sweatshirt. Tina reminded my how important the person who greets the visitor at the church is in making a first and lasting impression. I believe we at Epiphany are blessed by staff and volunteers who do this well.

My Uber arrived within five minutes of putting in the request. Ed warmly welcomed me, offered me a bottle of water, mints and candy. He was not your “I’ll be quiet and let you enjoy the ride in peace” kind of driver. But that was okay with me. In the short 10-minute ride to the airport, we covered religion, politics, retirement (his, not mine) and more. Ed retired a couple of years ago, and his wife let him know he wasn’t going to sit around the house after 50 years of work. He played golf a lot at first but needed something else. His son suggested Uber. Never having used Uber, his first ride was a trip to nowhere – just riding with the driver asking questions. Ed has been at it for two years, and I was his 3,000th rider. He said that in all those rides, he had only two that were bad experiences. I don’t think I was number three. I enjoyed the conversation.

Marty and I are on our way.

Next stop – Germany!

As I have been preparing for this trip, there are many people I looked forward to meeting – fellow participants at the conference, friends in Wittenberg and at our partner churches. My encounters today were unexpected blessings. Thank God for the unexpected blessings, the friendly interruptions, the unplanned encounters with people like Tina and Ed. They made the first steps on the journey lighter.    


Pastor Charlie

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