It reads like a Hallmark card -- sentimental, uplifting; an occasion to celebrate, remember and cherish.
On the hearts of two women, the beautiful storyline will be written forever.
The late October day in 2012 had held such promise for the widowed grandmother, but by nightfall a curtain of gloom had closed on her joy. One distracted moment had robbed her of what was meant to be a beautiful tomorrow.
“I was devastated,” Judy Johnson remembers vividly about the late evening discovery that her money was missing. “There was a lot on the line for me to have lost it.”
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Earlier that morning -- her 4-year-old grandson in tow -- Judy had boarded the familiar city bus for what she hoped would be the next to the last time. Two years of pinching pennies meant that in less than 24 hours, a "new" car would be hers.
With a thick envelope in her worn handbag, Judy stopped in at a thrift store only a short distance from the credit union where she banked. A fashionable purse was only proper since she would soon be traveling in style.
Armed with her purchase -- and hand-in-hand with a wiggly toddler -- the grandma paused at a welcoming bench down the way. Once she got her things arranged in her fancy pocketbook, she’d make sure to include a visit to several other stores in the outdoor shopping mall.
Tomorrow she would have her own wheels, so her final bus ride home would be a sweet memory to add to a perfect day. But at bedtime, there was a spoiler.
“You know my situation, Lord,” Judy prayed as her tears soaked the pillow, the realization her envelope of cash had gone missing. “If it’s your will, I’d like to get it back,” she whispered, fully aware someone else might need the money, too.
That someone -- a Hallmark store employee -- had been helping an elderly patron out the door early evening when she noticed tossed debris on the sidewalk. As was her habit, the young woman began to pick up the litter when she spotted even more beneath an adjacent bench.
The bank envelope was oddly heavy, and so before discarding it in an outside garbage can, the petite brunette gave it a second look. Inside was $3,500 in cash.
“Is this a test?” the mother of three wondered, knowing her husband was one week away from being laid off at work.
Nevertheless, she knew her relationship with God wouldn’t allow for dishonesty.
With the help of Hallmark staff, Judy was found and the cash returned. It was a heartwarming meeting of the two women, complete with grateful tears and hugs.
“She not only turned in my lost money,” Judy says with a catch in her voice, “but every dollar was there.”
It seems when answering a grandma’s prayers, God cares enough to send the very best: Alisha Bryans.