Starbucks Encounter

I don’t know how my life is the way that it is….but it is. Here’s a little story from a few weeks ago:

I was having a one on one (2 hours of discipleship power, as I like to describe it) with one of my RAs and pulled into the Starbucks parking lot for a chai egg nog latte and some good conversation. Before I could even pull the key out of the ignition someone started pounding on my window. Startled, I looked up and there was a young girl standing there yelling at me that she needed help. I opened my door and – between a steady stream of explicatives- she demanded my cell phone from me. Picture this with me: short, thin, goth/hippie looking girl, appears to be about 17 (but is actually 25), long brown hair, a strange combination of bold/demanding and self loathing/unsure of herself, repeating the most vulgar word I can think of over and over and over and over and over. I think I heard more swear words in the time we spent with her than I have in the past 8 years combined. I won’t keep reminding you of all the explatives, but keep that in mind. It made the entire situation a lot more…strange. Okay, back to the story.

Still pretty shocked, I asked her why she needed to use my cell phone and she told me she had gotten into an accident and her mom was going to kill her and she had to get to class and couldn’t miss it. So I handed over my phone, she called her mom, explained the situation (not refraining from repeating explatives over and over and over), and finished the call “Okay call me back. Wait, don’t call me back. I don’t have a cell phone, I’m borrowing this one. So just come pick me up. Okay?” I wish you could have heard it. She was pretty upset so I got out of the car and started asking her about what happened. Clearly she had never been in a car accident before. Thankfully (please hear the sarcasm) I’ve had my fair share so I knew just what to do.

The guy she hit came over a few minutes later and began taking pictures. He was a cop from Fresno driving back from a trip to Disneyland with his family. He was a nice enough guy, clearly not excited this had happened, but turned into a regular old softy after a few minutes because I’m sure he realized this girl was far worse off than he (emotionally, at least). My RA, Amy, was out of the car by now. We helped her find her insurance card and write down her information for the guy. She didn’t know her mom’s work number or the name of the company her mom worked for, didn’t know what to do about getting her car towed or fixed or anything. The entire time her hands were shaking and she was pacing nervously back and forth. As I was trying to look up the AAA number on my phone she kept asking us a million questions, cursing at herself and apologizing. Between the cop and I we assured her that accidents happen, that’s what insurance is for, no one was hurt and it could have been much worse, it would be easy to take care of, and the classes she needed to get down to Northridge for the next day would be fine to miss just once (believe me, I know).

Fast forward about 15 minutes. We’re all still there. I just felt bad leaving the girl but she told her mom to pick her up there so I couldn’t take her anywhere. She was still pretty shaken up and jittery. I asked her if she wanted something from Starbucks. She didn’t. I was just about to take Amy and go inside when, no joke, a AAA tow truck drove up and parked right behind her car. “Is that for me?! Did someone call him? Did he come for me?” But the driver just got out of the car and walked into Starbucks. Apparently the man wanted some coffee. If that isn’t providence I don’t know what is.

When he walked out, coffee in hand, I went over and asked if he might be able to help us out. He was in between calls so he came over and checked her car out. She was adamant that she didn’t have a spare tire but we suggested that perhaps she should look in her trunk just in case. Low and behold, there was a spare right there in the back of her car. So the nice tow man offered to change the tire for her free of charge. Seriously. I told the girl she should know there is a God and he was caring for her right then.

After the tow man went on his way I didn’t know what else to do but offer again to buy her some Starbucks. I finally convinced her there was calming tea she could drink so we all went inside and got our drinks. A few moments later her mom drove up and she quickly walked/ran out the door and out of our lives forever. I don’t think she even said goodbye? I think she was more concerned with getting killed by her mother. But it didn’t look like she was getting killed, at least from what I could see.

And that was the end. A few minutes later Amy and I turned to each other and just started laughing. Such a strange afternoon….

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