So, I step out of the Five Points Marta train station in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I just flew in from Houston, Texas, and am not overly familiar with that area of town. Also, it is early evening, getting dark, and raining. I have no umbrella, jacket or other water deflecting implement to keep me, my suitcase, and my laptop dry while I walk several blocks to hang out and meet up with my oldest son at Georgia State University after his late evening class. After briefly considering my predicament, I decide to walk anyway, even if I get wet, so I begin.
However, within a few steps into the rain, a man with limp and a huge umbrella walks by, says “Hello!” then stops, backs up, and asks, “Do you mind if we walk together?”
I don’t mind, and my new companion and I enjoy a leisurely stroll in the rain for several blocks through downtown Atlanta.
Turns out, his name is George, and he moved to Atlanta eight years earlier after he lost his parents in Hurricane Katrina. He limps because his feet were injured by debris where they found him floating unconscious after two days in the floodwaters in New Orleans. He works various day jobs, has a positive outlook on life, and hopes to start college soon.
During our brief stroll, we were approached several times by people asking me for money, favors, or aggressively hawking their wares. Each time, George spoke nicely, but firmly, and warded them away. I was pleasantly surprised, and grateful. I also realized that George was protecting me – casually, but intentionally and continuously.
I asked George why he decided to take a walk in the rain.
“The Lord prompted me,” he explained. “I’m not sure why, but I felt compelled to go out and see if someone needed a blessing.”
I did not know it, but I did, and we were both mutually blessed.
I thanked George as we parted.
“Thank Jesus, my friend,” he replied, waving me on my way. “You just never know when a man named George will walk by with an umbrella.”