blind_html [Fwd: Its Christmas at the filling station.]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 13:58:57 -0700

Nimer M. Jaber

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Its Christmas at the filling station.
Date:   Mon, 15 Dec 2008 16:50:46 -0400
From:   Steve Boodram <steve.boodram@xxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>

The Filling Station

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 warm up.
"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, 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 in the
pot over there, and it's fresh."
Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be
right back," George said.
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?" asked the driver with a thick, Spanish accent.
"My wife is with child, and my car is broken."
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, got the keys to his old truck and went back outside.
He walked around the building, 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 good."
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
"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
"Well, I can fix this," he said to himself. So, he put on a new one. "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 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 attention.
"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 anythin'," 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
"Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy who 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 rain."
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 who shot me!" exclaimed the officer.
"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George. "You need to put the cannon
away. Somebody else might get hurt."
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,
as it is."
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 explained. "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 out."
The young man had stopped crying. He looked over at 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 officer.
"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 continued.
"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
"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've 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 yours."
The young man began to cry again, as he handed back the $150 the old man had
given 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, get home to your family."
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'd left."
"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you
don't celebrate Christmas. Why not?"
"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother
was for. 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 the 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 door.
"If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home, where
there is a big celebration planned."
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!"
It is better to give than to receive, the best things come in small packages.

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