There weren’t many bright spots as I began to circle the hotel parking lot, my rental car headlights searching the darkness. A lighted space underneath an overhead lamppost would be ideal.
I breathed a prayer. Traveling alone always brought safety concerns to mind.
“Maybe if I make another loop around,” I thought to myself, “there may be someone leaving.”
As I passed the hotel entrance once again, my search seemed futile. But then I noticed a parking space that had been overlooked, a tight squeeze with one vehicle over the painted line and another hugging the other side.
Clinching the steering wheel, I began to nose into the slim spot, and then quickly changed my mind. The last thing I needed on this emergency trip to California was to scratch or dent another person’s vehicle.
Feeling defeated and resigned to finding a parking space out on the dark perimeter, I began to back up. Suddenly, I noticed an elderly man motioning in my rearview mirror.
My heart sunk. The thought that I may have nearly hit him crowded out any worry about a parking space.
Around the front of the car he came. Reluctantly, I lowered my window, my teeth clenched for what I knew was to come. However, what happened next took me completely by surprise.
“Would you like me to move my car over a little bit?” the grey-haired gentleman asked, his voice warm with kindness.
I hesitated and then declined his offer. How could I inconvenience someone that way? After all, he was parked correctly.
“It’s no trouble,” the senior citizen said brightly. “I have to get into my car anyway.”
Within a few minutes, my rental car was tucked into the well-lit space.
As 88-year-old Dan shut his car door, he confided his reason for being in the parking lot at that late hour. Earlier he had accidentally left his cellphone in his car and just now remembered.
For me, it was God’s perfect timing.
“Can I get you a cup of coffee,” I offered out of gratefulness, “maybe dessert in the restaurant?”
He shook his head, saying it was time for him to get a good night’s sleep. But as we parted ways, I pressed Dan for his last name, hoping to thank him with a note at the front desk.
“You’ll probably laugh,” Dan said with a chuckle. “It’s Angel.”
Standing there in the light, I wasn’t at all surprised.