As I was driving down the street I noticed a man on the side of the road. He looked tired and hungry. He was wearing old worn out clothing. As I looked over his direction, I felt for the man but was concerned about stopping. I have been taught al my life not to pick up strangers or to have anything to do with people I do not know. So I decided not to stop. I went on home to my husband and family. It was the day before Thanksgiving and there was a lot to do to get ready.

Honey I'm home, I say as I walk through the door of our small country home. It isn't a big or fancy home. It has white wood siding and a small front porch. The yard is only about an acre and it has an apple tree in the back yard. We put a small red swing in the front yard for our daughter and son to play on.

We have twins and what a blessing they are. They just turned five three weeks ago. Joe looks just like his dad. He has dark black hair and brown eyes. You know the kind that can look so sad they will melt your heart and make you do almost anything. Laura looks more like me. She has sandy brown hair and a beautiful smile.

Mommy, Mommy, I hear as I walk through the door. Here they come running full speed. I grab them up and give them a big hug. Kisses all over the face and tickles all over. It is such a joy to have such beautiful kids.

As I look around the corner, I see Joe Sr. Come here, I say to my husband of eight years. He comes around the corner and the hugs and kisses begin again.

Later as we sit around the dinner table, I start talking to Joe about the man I saw in town. It ell him how I wish we could do something to help. I don't know why but I just can't get him off of my mind. Joe tells me that we will probably never see the man again. They usually never stay in one place long. People like that move around a lot. I look at him and tell him he shouldn't jump to conclusions. He doesn't know why that man was in the shape he was in. He says he was sorry and we both agree to pray for him.

A few hours before our Thanksgiving dinner the next day, I can't get that man off of my mind. I talk to Joe and he agrees to go see if he can find him and offer him a meal and see if there is anything we can do for him. I tell Joe bye as he walks out the door.

. . .

I can't believer my wife talked me into this, I think as I drive up and down the road where she said she saw the man. Just as I start to give up and go home, I see him. There he is just sitting under a tree in front of a closed store.

I drive over and stop near where he is. Hello, I call out to him. He looks up and says hello. I offer him some food I brought from the house. He tells me thank you and takes the food. As I look at the man I notice he is shivering from the cold. I ask him if he has anywhere to stay and he tells me no. Out of concern for my family, I am afraid to take him to my home but I know I need to do something. I look down and in the seat beside me I see the coat that my dad had given me the week before he died. It was his favorite that he had for many years and he wanted me to have it. I knew my dad would understand so I offered the coat to the man. He gladly accepted.

I don't know why but I offered him a ride and paid for him a room in the local motel. I felt that he deserved a warm shower and a place to stay on Thanksgiving. Before I left him in the room, he told me thanks and said he would get my coat back to me. I said OK and left.

When I got home, I told my wife everything and then I realized I had not told the man where I lived or how to contact me about the coat. I guessed I would never see it again. She told me she was very proud of me and the family and I had a wonderful dinner.

Later that night after we tucked the kids into be, we were sitting on the couch watching some TV and I looked over on the chair and there it was, the coat my father had given me. I picked it up and looked at it in disbelief. I asked my wife if anyone had come by. She was as shocked as I was. She told me that she hadn't let anyone in or answered the door all night.

The next day I called the motel where the stranger had stayed. They told me that he must have left during the night and not let anyone know. They said that the room was empty when they went to clean it and it looked as if no one had ever even been there. The room was perfectly clean including the towels which were still neatly folded over the rack and the bed hadn't even been slept in.

Where the stranger had come from, what his name was and where he went, I will never know. How the coat ended up on my living room chair is always going to be a mystery. One thing I do know is that when we see a stranger in need we should always help if we can and you never know, something like happened to me may just happen to you. I don't know how it happened but every time I wear that coat, I remember the time I gave my coat to a stranger in need and through some miracle, God made sure I got it back.

By Mark Davis

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