Let me tell you a little bit about this van.
It’s green. It is the extended cargo version so it can practically hold a whole soccer team plus their gear (it has a little soccer ball hanging from the rear view mirror and is decorated with soccer stickers on the back window so I assume it’s seen a lot of soccer fields in its day). It has a DVD player, stereo, air conditioning, and all the automatic features that we look for in a vehicle these days. Although it’s been well-loved, it’s in great condition.
And it made its way into my Project 365 of Gratitude last week due to a simple act of kindness from a stranger.
You see, along with soccer players, this van has also carried a young man with cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheelchair. A few months ago his family purchased a new mini van and since then, this van has been in their driveway.
His mom is going to sell it. His dad just returned from serving in the Air Force in Afghanistan and her son just had surgery so she hasn’t gotten around to selling it. In the meantime, it’s been simply waiting.
When Jason totaled his van a few weeks ago, our first concern was that we would have to get a new one – and that is expensive. But it didn’t seem so bad since his van was 10 years old with 100,000 miles on it and we knew that it was only a matter of time before we would have to get a new one anyway. But due to the specific needs that he has, it often takes 2-3 months to get a new van converted specifically for him. Therefore, our biggest concern became what to do in the interim period until his new van arrived.
That is where the Coffee family comes in. They were neighbors to our neighbors the Joneses when they lived across town (you’ve heard me talk about the Jones Family many times). The Joneses knew that we were in a predicament and started doing what they do best – helping. They got us in touch with the Coffee family who then offered to let us “rent” their van indefinitely – for about the price of what it would have cost us to rent one from a service for 2 days. You could basically say that we are really just borrowing it instead of renting it.
This is a big deal. We had figured that it would cost us at least $5,000 to rent a van over the next two months. That’s right – $5,000. That, on top of having to purchase a $65,000 vehicle was very stressful for us. I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to manage it all.
So, this week we are grateful – immensely grateful for the simple act of kindness from a family who doesn’t even know us but is willing to help where they can by lending us their extra handicap accessible van. The floor isn’t lowered so Jason rides in it with his head tilted to one side and I have to drive him everywhere because, of course, it’s not set up for him to drive. But I have no doubt that the reason why the mother hasn’t gotten around to selling it is because I believe it waited in their driveway for us.
I know that this small coincidence is no coincidence at all. Call it fate. Call it luck. Call it whatever you want. But I’m calling it a little miracle. A tender mercy to help us manage something that was going to be very stressful and difficult for us.
Thanks, Coffee family. Thanks for your generosity. Thanks for your kindness. Thanks for being our miracle. Oh, and thanks for the van – it’s working great!