By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

I'm running "early" today and on the way to my client's home.
Decide to stop by a gas station and grab an extra bold, dark, strong cup of coffee.
Mmmm ... it's sounding good.
I pull in to the side of the building where the non-gas people park and just as I'm about to make an exit, I find myself drawn to the vehicle beside me.
A dusty gray Chevy pick-up and the profile of an attractive but weary-worn gentleman meets me;
Retirement age and perhaps in a seed-selling or Ag related business if his hat is an assertion of anything.
Oblivious to my presence and engrossed in what appears to be an unpleasant phone conversation, I find myself strangely drawn to him, and a sadness washes over me.
It's apparent that the conversation is hard and hurtful ... and it ends with a fist on the steering wheel and an intense surge of private emotion displayed.
I know that I'm intruding ... but I can't stop watching.
He stares straight ahead, places his head on the steering wheel ... and then reaches for a pack of Marlboro lights squeezed into the front window dash, and we're close enough that I see his hands tremble between cigarette and lighter.
I look down at the cellophane plate of goodies accompanied by a devotional, with the name of my client on a Christmas card neatly written on top, sitting beside me, and I remove the card.
I pop out of my car and knock lightly on the gentleman's vehicle and I startle him;
He remains in a world a million miles away.
He rolls down his window, flashes me an easy smile and, I think, assumes I'm going to ask him for help.
But I don't need help ... not today.
I extend my mittened hand to him, hold out the delightful plate of goodies and devotional, wish him a Merry Christmas, and tell him it's a little gift and reminder of "hope."
It takes only seconds and I hop back into my warm car and we look at one another one more time ... and he mouths the words "Thank you" to me.
And I leave him like that,
And he leaves me like that.
Strangers affected by one another,
 Interacting with one another ...
For just a moment.
As good as a quick cup of coffee sounded,
It'll have to wait for another day.
It's the spontaneous intersection with the gentleman holding a Marlboro that garners my attention for the rest of the day,
And I pray for him throughout.
That his life is touched by the love of God and that the first words he opens up to in that little book remind him that there's hope when life is hard ...
And a stranger who cares.
"Be kind to others,
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."