December 25, 2009

The Filling Station

I've posted this before, but I think it's the best thing to put up on this day of all days. It's always been a great inspiration to me and, now, I hope, for you.

May you be blessed by all you deem Holy.


The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas
Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife
had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no
lights. It was just another day to him. He didn't
hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to
celebrate. There were no children in his life. His
wife had gone.

He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been
falling for the last hour and wondering what it was
all about when the door opened and a homeless man
stepped through. Instead of throwing the man out,
George, Old George as he was known by his customers,
told the man to come and sit by the space heater and

"Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the
stranger. "I see you're busy. I'll just go"

"Not without something hot in your belly," George
turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it
to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and
tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you're done
there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the
driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George

There in the driveway was an old 53 Chevy. Steam was
rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked.

"Mister can you help me!" said the driver with a deep
Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked
cracked from the cold; the car was dead. "You ain't
going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But mister. Please help...."The door of the office
closed behind George as he went in. George went to
the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and
went back outside. He walked around the building and
opened the garage, started the truck and drove it
around to where the couple was waiting.

"Here, you can borrow my truck," he said. "She ain't
the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched
as it sped off into the night. George turned and
walked back inside the office.

"Glad I loaned em the truck. Their tires were shot
too. That 'ol truck has brand new tires........"
George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the
man had gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty with
a used coffee cup beside it.

"Well, at least he got something in his belly," George
thought. George went back outside to see if the old
Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started.
He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been.
He thought he would tinker with it for something to
do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered
the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose
on the radiator.

"Well, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put
a new one on. "Those tires ain't gonna get 'em
through the winter either." He took the snow treads
off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and
he wasn't going to drive the car.

As he was working he heard a shot being fired. He ran
outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the
cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the
officer moaned, "Help me." George helped the officer
inside as he remembered the training he had received
in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed

"Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The
laundry company had been there that morning and had
left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape
to bind the wound.

"Hey, they say duct tape can fix anything'," he said,
trying to make the policeman feel at ease. "Something
for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills
he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put
some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills.

"You hang in there. I'm going to get you an
ambulance." George said, but the phone was dead.
"Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there
talk box out in your police car."

He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into
the dashboard destroying the two way radio. He went
back in to find the policeman sitting up.

"Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me
there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him. "I would never leave an
injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you."
George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding.
"Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right
through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff
though. I think with time your gonna be right as

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you
take it?" he asked.

"None for me," said the officer.

"Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city." Then
George added: "Too bad I ain't got no donuts."

The officer laughed and winced at the same time. The
front door of the office flew open. In burst a young
man with a gun.

"Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man
yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell
that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George. "You
need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll
shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!" The cop was
reaching for his gun.

"Put that thing away," George said to the cop. "We
got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's
Christmas Eve. If you need the money, well then,
here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that
pee shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to
the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at
the same time. The young man released his grip on the
gun, fell to his knees and began to cry.

"I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to
buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've
lost my job. My rent is due. My car got repossessed
last week..."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in
a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard
sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on
a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid
things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee.
"Being stupid is one of the things that makes us
human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer.
Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to
the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm
sorry officer."

"Shut up and drink your coffee." the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A
police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two
cops came through the door, guns drawn.

"Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you
find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced
bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he
approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off
into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each
other. "That guy works here," the wounded cop

"Yep," George said. "Just hired him this morning.
Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the
stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop
and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas, boy. And you too,
George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there.
That ought to solve some of your problems." George
went into the back room and came out with a box. He
pulled out a ring box.

"Here you go. Something for the little woman. I
don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come
in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond
ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young
man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George.
"I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. A toy airplane, a
racing car and a little metal truck appeared next.
They were toys that the oil company had left for him
to sell. "Here's something for that little man of

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the
$150 that the old man had handed him earlier. "And
what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with?
You keep that, too. Count it as part of your first
week's pay." George said. "Now git home to your

The young man turned with tears streaming down his
face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that
job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See
ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had
returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the
stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas.

"Well, after my wife passed away I just couldn't see
what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all
seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies
like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by
myself and besides I was getting a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But
you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me
food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and
hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he
will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people
from being killed by terrorists. The young man who
tried to rob you will become a rich man and share his
wealth with many people.

That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as
good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said.
"And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this
sort of thing. And when your days are done you will
be with Martha again." The stranger moved toward the

"If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I
have to go home where there is a big celebration

George watched as the man's old leather jacket and his
torn pants turned into a white robe. A golden light
began to fill the room.

"You see, George, it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."

Author Unknown

Posted by Delftsman3 at December 25, 2009 08:54 AM | TrackBack

Thanks Delftsman, that caused a bit of dust to get in my eye, it seems.
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Mike and Debbie Howard,

Posted by: Mike Howard at December 26, 2009 03:33 PM

Going to put this atrlcie to good use now.

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