When I was in hospital over the summer, one of the leaders from our church came to visit me. He played the 'pastoral visit card' and so was allowed past Matron during non-visiting hours when noone else was about.
We chatted for a while and before he left I asked him to pop in to say hello to a little old lady who was in a sideward near me who hadn't had a visitor since I had been on the ward. He tottled off to do that, and I plugged myself back into the MP3 player to wait for dinner.
A few minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. He was back again to see if I had any money for the carpark, as he was just home from holiday and only had Euros in his wallet. I knew I didn't have my purse, but sometimes theres an odd £1 or two floating about the bottom of my handbag, so we emptied the contents of my bag to search, but unfortunately there was nothing.
He then asked me was there a 'hole in the wall' in the hospital, which I wasn't sure about, but I did know that there was one just down the road from the hospital near the local McDonalds from past expereince with the kids! Quite a stroll mind you.
So off he set for a second time, and that was the last I saw of him that day.
Hubby phoned him later that night to thank him for visiting, and during the call he continued the story of the carpark.
It turns out, he was actually on his way to a meeting when he called in to see me, and with the added hike to a cash machine he knew he was going to be late, so he phoned the person he was due to meet from his mobile as he walked through the hospital to explain where he was and why he would be delayed.
When he came off his mobile, someone tapped him on the shoulder and I think he thought he was going to get told off for using the phone in the hospital. Actually, it was a young hospital cleaner, who apologised and said she hoped he didn't mind, but she had overheard his conversation, and she would like to pay his parking fee. He said there was no need, he was on his way to the cash machine, but she insisted.
Apparently, the girl had been on holiday just before this, and when she got to the airport to check in for her flight home, she discovered someone had stolen her ticket. Naturally, she was very upset, didn't really know what she was going to do about it and as a result was getting quite flustered. Just when she was at her wits end, another man who was on the same flight, a total stranger, stepped forward and paid for a new ticket to get her home.
So she went on to explain that this was the philosophy behind her offering to pay the carpark ticket for him, she was just passing on kindnesses in any way she could.