Guardian angels surround us, inspire works of mercy

reflections on life
Jerome LeDoux, SVD
The knuckles of Tanner and his brother Chase Brownlee turned white and bloodless as they clung to their $50,000 at the car auction. Having been able to raise only $50,000, they knew that they might easily be outbid for the car they coveted. The police cruiser was a 2010 Dodge Charger with 100,000 miles on it.
It was not just any car, mind you. The car being auctioned at the Weld County’s Sheriff’s Office was WC679, the Greeley, Colorado patrol car of their father, Deputy Sam Brownlee, who had been killed in a one of those dreaded car chases in 2010. Although Tanner and Chase were dealing in dollars, the car was priceless.
Valued at $12,500, the bar was set high above that price, since the auction was all about helping a charity. As the bids quickly soared above $50,000, their hearts sank and their spirits fell. Inconsolable, they bit their lips and fought back the tears that were beginning to wet their eyes. Little did they suspect that a guardian angel was hovering over them “all night, all day” in the guise of a stranger, one of the bidders who on the surface appeared to be their archenemy.
Everything turned into a black cloud without a silver lining for Tanner and Chase as oil-land-rich local rancher Steve Wells soundly outdistanced all bidders with his bid of $60,000. Almost too heartbroken to bear it, the brothers stared in anguish as the auctioneer closed the bidding with the statement, “Sold it your way, Mr. Steve Wells. Thank you very much. $60,000!”
But that guardian angel had been busy with a special plan all along. Smiling to himself as the Brownlee brothers suffered through the terrible ordeal of being outbid, millionaire Steve Wells sprang a totally unexpected surprise. Immediately upon receiving the car keys from the auctioneer, he whipped around toward Tanner and handed him the keys with the glad tidings, “Tanner, here is your car!”
While Tanner got up to hug Wells, the room exploded with applause. Not just one, but everybody had won. Steve Wells had won the bidding, but gained infinitely more by immediately giving his prize away. Tanner, Chase and their family had won through the inspiring generosity of Steve Wells. Concerns of Police Survivors (C.0.P.S.), a charity that helps the families of fallen police officers, won by receiving $70,000 from the $60,000 Wells bid and other donations. Suffice it to say that there were no losers there, but all huge winners going forward into the future.
“This is just so huge,” Tanner told Steve Wells and the adoring crowd. “I mean, me and my dad built a fence and stuff, but having something I can use and drive around that he drove around, it just means a lot.”
Some guardian angels are only five-years-old, as in the case of Josiah Duncan who asked his mother about a man hanging around a Prattville, Ala., Waffle House. Informed that the man was homeless with no place to stay and with a few rags and an old bicycle, Josiah begged his mother to buy him some food. But, when no one waited on him, Josiah gave the man a menu. He ordered only a cheeseburger.
“Get as much as you want!” Josiah’s mother Ava Faulk advised him. When the food came, Josiah stood across from the man and sang the blessing aloud, bringing the man and all 11 customers to tears. Going viral, the incident brought thousands of others to tears and no doubt is still reverberating endlessly over the cyberwaves.
Mary Lapkowicz has known her guardian angel since fourth grade when she and Ben Moser made a pact to attend their high school prom together. Ben watched over her throughout elementary school. A special Down syndrome student, Mary and Ben had gone to separate high schools. Mary became the equipment manager in her school, while Ben became the quarterback in his. When their schools met in a game, Mary and Ben reunited and renewed their pact for the upcoming prom. To no one’s surprise, but to the admiration of all, they were the hit of the prom.
Guardian angels appear with regularity at supermarket checkouts. With moving frequency, one sees someone struggling to find the last few dollars to complete a purchase when a voice from behind asks the cashier, “How much?”
It warms one’s heart to offer payment to a waiter or waitress, only to be informed that some unknown person has already paid the tab. On such and similar occasions, we are lifted far above all our earthly bonds of debt, and we are forced to recall that a most special Man died on Calvary that the baleful debt of all our sins and the sins of the world could be stamped once for all time, “PAID IN FULL!”
(Father Jerome LeDoux, SVD, is pastor of Our Mother of Mercy Parish in Fort Worth, Texas. He has written “Reflections on Life since 1969.)