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    “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that is in the right and keeps on a-comin’.” Captain Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger.

    My Photo
    Location: Texas

    Good guys wear white hats. And they never run out of bullets.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Judgement Calls

    Sometimes I don’t follow my better judgment. That can be a good thing.

    A few years ago I was changing jobs. The employer I was leaving called me on the phone to tell me not to finish my two weeks. So on the Saturday after I resigned, I had to make a trip to the plant to pick up my belongings. Changing jobs can be bittersweet. The excitement of better opportunities is offset by the love you have for the folks that you are leaving.

    So I was headed south out of Abilene going back to Winters where I lived at the time. Just outside of town I saw somebody walking along the highway. He was about 6’7” and black with tattoos all over. I knew nobody was going to help this fella if I didn’t. He was just too scary looking for most folks.

    I pulled over and asked him if he needed help. He was apprehensive but really needed the help. We had to come to a quick understanding. He was scary looking and I guess I was too. From his point of view, a bald goateed white fella in a big white hat could be kind of threatening. I smiled and all signs of angst disappeared from his face.

    He followed me back to the car and I told him I could get him where he needed to be. I did not know where that was yet. He was an airman who got himself into trouble. He and his buddies were off base when their care was stolen. He had already walked about 60 miles when I picked him up. He was AWOL at this point and needed to get back to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo. I asked him why he did not go to Dyess AFB in Abilene and explain what was going on there. He did not even know Abilene had a base.

    I explained that San Angelo was a long trip. It was more than twice as far as I needed to go. But if I stopped by the house and explained where I was then this would be no problem.

    We had and interesting conversation of the way. He was making some serious decisions of a moral and spiritual nature. I told him what I thought made the most sense and told him what the bible says about the matter. My answers surprised and intrigued him. He new what he had been engaging in was wrong but never stopped to consider the consequences of his actions. He was so interested that he told me he would seek a little coaching from his Chaplain.

    He seemed to get far more than a ride home. And I received more satisfaction from helping him than I can describe. The bible says that many of us have entertained angels without even knowing it. I don’t really know who the messenger of God was this time. I may have quoted scripture and horse sense, but his genuine gratitude blessed me beyond what I contributed.

    I don’t want to sound lone ranger here but, I refused his thanks. I told him that I did not want his appreciation. I asked him to thank God instead. I know that he did. I thanked him for fighting for my freedom. And then I rode away. On the way home I prayed for him. I prayed that he would do the right thing. I may be naïve but, I think he did talk to that Chaplain.

    So I know a bunch of you are going to scold me for doing this sort of thing. I know you can point out the dangers of picking up strangers. I don’t know why I did it. But danger or not I’m glad I did. I know he must have eventually ended his junket with the 17th training group. He was probably called combat recently. Airmen fight all over the world for us each day. This one has paid me back many times over.