It’s been a few years since my sons and I had a remarkable encounter. It happened after a busy evening of errands when we made a last-minute stop at our local Taco Bell for dinner.
The restaurant was deserted on this particular weekday evening, except for another customer who was reading at her table. After placing our order, my youngest son, Joshua, six years old, and I chose a table while my oldest son, Matthew, 12 years old, waited at the counter for our food.
Once seated, the other customer, a senior citizen, commented that I had a lovely family. (Maybe because, for once, my boys were well behaved and not picking on each other!) This lady appeared in her seventies and wore an unremarkable brown jacket and skirt plus dark, orthopedic shoes. She wore her grey hair pulled back in a simple bun. Undoubtedly, this was someone’s sweet grandmother. We talked casually, and she pointed to her Bible and study materials on her table and mentioned that she was waiting to go to Bible study.
Dinner progressed normally, and soon it was time to leave. My youngest and I walked to the soda fountain on the other side of the dining room to refill our drinks. Meanwhile, Matthew became engaged in conversation with our dinner neighbor. As I returned, she gave me a lovely smile and remarked, “I can tell that you are a Christian family. I can see the peace around you.” Matthew, in particular, seemed to have made quite an impression on the woman. She said that if Matthew gave her permission, she wanted to pray for him, as she found it a privilege to pray for people.
It was evident that this woman was sincere. Matthew agreed, and she clasped his right hand in both of hers. This sweet grandma proceeded to speak a blessing over my oldest son. She recounted Matthew’s strengths and described his spirit. The description was so remarkably accurate, coming from a stranger! She told Matthew that he would have a love for people, would become a great leader like King David because of the love that others will have for him. He was encouraged to be a warrior, for he will have to stand up for what is right and make decisions that may not be popular with others.
Matthew said not a word; the remarks deeply touched him, and I was teary-eyed. I sincerely thanked her, and after talking for just a couple more minutes, my sons and I left the restaurant.
We had barely gotten in the car when Matthew said he was going back inside. He needed to drop a comment card in the box by the door because he wanted to say something nice about the employee who fixed his order. It was just moments from our exit of the restaurant to when Matthew went back inside. There was a look of confusion on his face when he returned to the car.
“Mom, when I went in to return that card, the lady was gone.”
“What do you mean, ‘gone’?” I replied.
“She was gone. All her stuff was gone from the table, and it didn’t even look like she had been there. I didn’t see her leave, did you?”
We had a parking spot directly in front of the restaurant’s entrance with a view of the tables where we had dined. We didn’t notice the lady leave her table, yet Matthew remarked that the table was empty, wiped clean with the chair pushed in. She hadn’t left the restaurant; we would have noticed as we parked at the only entrance. It’s possible she was in the restroom, but if so, this sweet senior citizen had moved at lightning speed to pack up her Bible study materials, grab her coat, clean off the table, throw her trash away, and move out of sight.
We pulled out of our parking spot and slowly circled the building. There was no sign of our dinner companion, nor did we even locate a car that may have been hers.
Matthew spoke about this encounter for the rest of the evening. Because we had engaged in neighborly conversation, we experienced a heavenly encounter and received a special blessing. It’s something we won’t forget!
Did we meet an angel? The Bible says (Hebrews 13:1-2) that we may entertain angels unaware. Yes, they even may visit you at the local Taco Bell.