I put my credit card in the gas pump and pulled it out quickly as I had hundreds of times before without paying much attention. But this time it said, “Card not read, please try again.” So I did, again. Same result. Again. Same thing.

I walked into the store to pay like I did decades ago when paying at the pump was not an option. A man with a welcoming smile working behind the desk with beautiful light brown skin, caught me off guard. He called out to me in a hospitable voice, “Well hello there! So good to see you!”

I thought he had mistaken me for someone else, because he was so welcoming and so undeniably sure I was a familiar friend, though I had never been there and we had never met.

I responded, “Good afternoon,” and he quickly countered, “It is a good afternoon because you are here, and I am so thankful.” I smiled back at this kind man, “Gratitude is good for the soul,” I said.

“Gratitude is life,” he added, and “I am so blessed to get to be here to see you. I know that you are man of God and that you will do kind and loving things in the days ahead. You are so loved and appreciated.”

I looked at him carefully wondering if I had visited him in our hospital, or seen him at church. I looked down to see if I had my clergy collar on, and saw my sweatshirt and jeans.

I reached out to shake his hand which he gladly received. “God bless you sir,” I said. “Thank you,” he said.

As I walked out of the store smiling, I decided to just believe what he said.

“Ok, I will do kind and loving things in the days ahead,” I repeated in my heart.

Thank you for the reminder.