The Old Man At The Flea Market

Ever since I can remember, I have had this little voice inside.  I learned the hard way that when it told me something I had better listen.  I learned not to question it, just do what it said and all would be ok.  After I married, I told my wife of this and naturally, she thought I was either joking her or a little off.  Well after many times of it always being right she learned to believe it too.


When the weekend came we sometimes liked to relax by doing what in the military was called Adventure Training.  This is when you just make sure there is gas in the car, a couple of dollars in your pocket and take off.  No plan whatsoever, not even a conscious thought of the direction.  Just drive and go whatever direction looks interesting.  Believe me it is fun and we have had some great adventures like this.

Well it was one of those times and the weekend came and after the usual honey do’s we decided to take a break for the rest of the afternoon and go adventure training.  Now usually one of us always makes sure the car is filled up with gas at all times.  Well this was one of those times when I thought she did it and she thought I did it and yes you got it neither one of us did it this time. So off we went in our old station wagon just driving first one direction and then another.


We would come to a crossroads and say well which way now.  One of us would say lets go left we went right last time or that was looks interesting.  Well we ended up finding a large outside, open-air flea market.  It was really great, we walked and looked and talked to some really nice and interesting people.  It was getting late so we decided we had better get going home before it got dark.


 When we got to the car, we found out, we were almost out of gas.  Oh no what to do now, we were not even sure how far away from home we were or if we had enough gas to get back there.  My wife decided to take one last look around while I went to the little boy’s room.  She wasn’t too worried because I usually always have a few dollars in my pocket and I also thought she probably had a few in her purse too.


On the way back to the car after I had relieved myself I was walking along and ran into a strange old man.  He stopped me and asked me if I could spare a couple of dollars.  His hair was a little long and he had a white beard.  His clothes were clean but very worn and his shoes looked like they had been many miles.  I reached into my pocket and found that I had seven dollars.  Well I thought why not give him the two ones and keep the five in case we needed it.  When I started to pull out the two ones my little voice said, no, more than that. 


Well I thought I would give him the five and keep the two ones.  Well again, the little voice said, no give it all.  Well like I said before I have learned to listen to that little voice, regardless of how strange or illogical it might be.  So I took out the five and two ones and folded it and handed it to the little man.  His face smiled and he said God bless you Jerry.  I said no thank you sir for giving me the chance to help. 


I looked around for my wife and not seeing her turned around to the old man and he was gone. I looked all around and there was no sign of him.  I knew he couldn’t have disappeared so quickly; it was so strange how he had disappeared out of sight.  Well just about that time my wife came up and tapped me on the shoulder.  She said what you are looking for hon. I turned and told her of what had just happened with the old man.  I saw a worried look on her face and she said hon., I don’t have any money in my purse I hope you didn’t give him all your cash.  I just looked and said every dime hon.


Oh, no she said what are we going to do. We are almost out of gas and don’t know how far it is home and now you tell me you just gave every dime we had to a total stranger?  I just looked at her and said I know, I couldn’t help it.  She said oh no what were you thinking hon. don’t tell me it was that little voice thing again.  I had to admit it was a crazy thing to have done and I even myself thought uh oh.  My wife said well I know your little voice is always right but I think this time we may be in trouble.  I had to admit I wondered that myself.  But I knew it had always worked out.   I said sorry hon. and she just said well let’s go, maybe we can make it.


We started back and were driving down the interstate and there was not anything in sight, not a service station, not even an emergency phone box.  Finally, I saw an exit and before I could think of it, I took it.  My wife said where you going, is there some place down this way you know of hon. No, I said, I don’t even know where we are or why I did that.   Just a few minutes later, the car coughed and died, it was out of gas.   Well here we were, off on a strange road, no traffic, not even a light anywhere in sight and it was dark and getting cold out.  And us with no gas no money no checks no credit cards or anything.   I lowered my head and just said oh Lord. Just about then, there were bright lights behind us and then red and blue flashing lights at that.


It was a highway patrol car and boy were we glad to see him.  I rolled down the window and he asked us if we were having trouble. Well we just told him the whole strange story.  He said it is getting cold come, get into the patrol car, and warm up while I see how I can help you out of this fix.  My wife got into the car and the cop and I stood outside of the car and talked a little.  He asked me to describe the old man and when I gave him a description of the man I saw his face got a strange look on it and he said did he have a white beard and was he so tall and dressed so.  I said that’s him, do you know him?  The cop said well I haven’t met him myself but I can say you’re not the first to meet him.   He started to smile and then said, it is going to be fine sir.


He said lets look in the trunk and see if I got some gas here to get you to a service station.   When he opened the trunk and reached for the little two gallon can they always carry, he stopped and said oh no I forgot I used it a few hours ago and haven’t filled it up yet. Then he picked it up and when he did he stopped and said, well that’s strange.  When I asked him what he meant he just smiled and said nothing to worry about sir and took the gas can and went to out old station wagon and began to put in the contents of the gas can.  After which, he again looked at me and I said to him, I thought you said it was empty.  To which he smiled and said to me, well it was, I know I used it earlier and I know it was empty and I haven’t filled it up since.  


Then he patted me on the shoulder and said you know it is strange how things work out isn’t it, you are a lucky man indeed.  I was just finishing my shift, going off duty, and heading home.  I never ever get off the interstate, especially not at this exit at this time of night, but tonight something just told me to do it.  Sure glad I did too.   I said it sure is and I think the Boss


had something to do with it for sure.  We got back into our station wagon and started it up and the cop told us to follow him back on to the interstate and that there was a gas station just about three miles on and I would be able to see it from the road.


 I again thanked him and said God bless you officer and was just thinking well I still don’t have any way of getting any gas.  When the officer took out his wallet, handed me a piece of paper, and said this is good for twenty dollars at the gas station that should take care of you and see you home.   I looked at the paper and it was a voucher that said good for gas or food at the gas station.  I started to ask him how we could repay him for this when he just smiled and said no, thank you Jerry for letting me help.


Well we followed him onto the interstate and sure enough just three miles on the right was a big Texaco station.  We turned off the road, stopped, gassed up the car, and even had enough for a couple of sandwiches and a coup of coffee for me and some hot tea for my wife.  When we got into the station wagon and started home my wife just looked at me and said well you did it to me again didn’t you. I asked her what she meant and she said that little voice is always right, who would believe it, well she said I will never question that little voice again.  We hugged each other and said wow, thanks Boss.  As we drove on home I kept thinking of it and remembered something else about the events that had happened.  Both the old man and the cop called me by my first name but I never told either of them my first name.


How did they know, and how did the gas can get full by itself, why did the cop get off at that exit that night and how did he know of the old man, and what did he mean we weren’t the first to meet him?  What’s the answer to these questions?  I will just say that as long as you do what the creator tells you and trust in him he will take care of you.  That’s why I just call him The Boss; because whatever he tells me to do I just do it. 


Trenchtownrock   Trenchtownrock wrote
on 12/11/2008 10:49:21 AM
Wonderful story! Keep on doing your thing.

G_Money   G_Money wrote
on 12/9/2008 5:24:51 PM
Awesome story! God is so good :) He has his ways of teaching us to depend on Him. The lessons aren't always easy but they are so worth it in the end. You have a gift for story telling.

Warriorprincess55   Warriorprincess55 wrote
on 12/9/2008 4:05:41 PM
Jerry, this is such a wonderful story. The "boss" is always there to help unconditionally and at all times! Another beautiful piece. Great writing.

Short Story
writing jeremiah
You will never get out of this world alive
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Rating: 10.0/10

This is a story of an incident that happened to me while I was a young soldier.
A Word from the Writer
This story is true I know I was there
Published Date
11/9/2008 12:00:00 AM
Published In
The Story Collection, Stories From My LIfe, WOB