A Great Christmas Story

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no lights. It was just another day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. There were no children in his life. His wife had gone.

He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through. Instead of throwing the man out, George, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the space heater and warm up.

“Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger. “I see you’re busy. I’ll just go.” “Not without something hot in your belly,” George turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t much, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you’re done there’s coffee and it’s fresh.”

Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said. There in the driveway was an old 53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. “Mister, can you help me!” said the driver with a deep Spanish accent. “My wife is with child and my car is broken.”

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold; the car was dead. “You ain’t going in this thing,” George said as he turned away. “But mister – please help.” The door of the office closed behind George as he went in. George went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building and opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting.

“Here, you can borrow my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.” George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. George turned and walked back inside the office.

“Glad I loaned em the truck. Their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new tires.” George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty with a used coffee cup beside it. “Well, at least he got something in his belly,” George thought. George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator.

“Well, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new one on. “Those tires ain’t gonna get ‘em through the winter either.” He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car. As he was working he heard a shot being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, “Help me.” George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention.

“Pressure to stop the bleeding,” he thought. The laundry company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. “Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin’,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. “Something for pain,” George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. “These ought to work.” He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. “You hang in there. I’m going to get you an ambulance.” George said, but the phone was dead.

“Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your police car.” He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio. He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. “Thanks,” said the officer. “You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.”

George sat down beside him. “I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain’t gonna leave you.” George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. “Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through ‘ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain.”

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. “How do you take it?” he asked. “None for me,” said the officer. “Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city.” Then George added: “Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.” The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. “Give me all your cash! Do it now!” the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before. “That’s the guy that shot me!” exclaimed the officer. “Son, why are you doing this?” asked George. “You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.” The young man was confused. “Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!”

The cop was reaching for his gun. “Put that thing away,” George said to the cop. “We got one too many in here now.” He turned his attention to the young man. “Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need the money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pee shooter away.”

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. “I’m not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,” he went on. “I’ve lost my job. My rent is due. My car got repossessed last week…”

George handed the gun to the cop. “Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.” He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. “Sometimes we do stupid things.” George handed the young man a cup of coffee. “Being stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.”

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. “Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I’m sorry officer.” Shut up and drink your coffee.” the cop said. George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. “Chuck! You ok?” one of the cops asked the wounded officer. “Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?” “GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?” the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, “I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.” George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. “That guy works here,” the wounded cop continued. “Yep,” George said. “Just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.” The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, “Why?” Chuck just said, “Merry Christmas, boy. And you too, George, and thanks for everything.”

“Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.” George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. “Here you go. Something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.”

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. “I can’t take this,” said the young man. “It means something to you.” “And now it means something to you,” replied George. “I got my memories. That’s all I need.” George reached into the box again. A toy airplane, a racing car and a little metal truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. “Here’s something for that little man of yours.”

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. “And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that, too. Count it as part of your first week’s pay.” George said. “Now git home to your family.” The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. “I’ll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.” “Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,” George said. “See ya the day after.”

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. “Where’d you come from? I thought you left?” “I have been here. I have always been here,” said the stranger. “You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?” “Well, after my wife passed away I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was getting a little chubby.”

The stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will become a rich man and share his wealth with many people. That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man.”

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. “And how do you know all this?” asked the old man. “Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.” The stranger moved toward the door. “If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.”

George watched as the man’s old leather jacket and his torn pants turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room. “You see, George, it’s my birthday – Merry Christmas!”

~Author Unknown

 

Comments

  1. Wonderful story of true Christmas spirit!

  2. Love it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. what a beautiful lesson to us !

  4. merry christmas debbie from south africa :))

  5. Thank you, Margaret, and you Debbie for posting this heartwarming story. Wishing both of you and your families a most joyous Christmas.

  6. Beautiful and heart warming at this time of the year! Merry Christmas to all!

  7. Debbi White says:

    Thank you Debbie, again you have touched me with the warmth of your insite from sharing these beautiful pictures and stories.
    I truely believe that there are angels amoung us and we never know when we will be in the presents of our Lord. Thanks for reminding me, He is always watching me. I am so blessed.

  8. Ada Ortega says:

    Amazing story… Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

  9. Diane Pratt says:

    Beautiful Story, Merry Christmas

  10. Christmas is hard for me this year. I lost my son this summer. I miss his terribly, but I know he is with the Lord celebrating His birthday. It can’t get any better than that, and one day, I’ll be there too.

  11. Sharon Phagan says:

    Beautiful story. Merry Christmas to you andyours

  12. What a great story to remind us all of what the true spirit of Christmas is.Thanks for sharing!! Merry Christmas and God Bless everyone!!

  13. Debbi Cole says:

    Such a sweet story. Made me think of all the missed oportunities we have all missed because of the hustle and bustle times that we live in, maybe we should just be like Ole George and slow down a bit and be kinder. Thank you for sharing this story Debbie and may you and yours have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

  14. This was beautiful and such a blessing. I just lost my husband this June and I was feeling the very same way until I read this story. Thank you so much for sharing. My husband is now out of pain and suffering and in a much better place,but my pain still goes on,

  15. a very heart-warming story…just love it…and I wish all of us could be like
    george…

  16. what a remarkable man George was…so compassionate and big of heart…i wish all of us were like him…

  17. candlewitness says:

    Beautiful Christmas Story. It reminds me of the classic Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life.
    I have the movie on VHS. I think I will watch it!
    I am a widow and I also did not put up a tree or decorate. But, I celebrate our Lord and Savior everyday. I will be going to my daughter’s house for Christmas! God Bless you and have a very Merry Christmas!

  18. Helen Selfe-Maguire Roberts says:

    Thank you Debbie for this, it was lovely. Merry Christmas XX

  19. Eleanor James says:

    Brought tears to my eyes and, you know. tears feel good. Warmed my heart and that feels good too! Thanks

  20. Barbara Gault says:

    This is a wonderful story of showing God’s love. I sent it to friends so they could be touched by it as well. Thank you for your ministry of love. Merry Christmas Debbie!

  21. I hadn’t read this in a long time and am so happy that you posted it! It’s a great story of kindness and caring! Thank you so much for sharing! Hugs, Leena

  22. Beautiful story!

  23. I love this story! thanks so much for sharing.

  24. This was the most beautiful story I have read in along time. Glad I took time to read it.

  25. On this Christmas day this has been such an uplifting, beautiful message. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Barb Fiester says:

    Love this story….made my heart melt! There’s the meaning of Christmas! <3

  27. Carol Millen says:

    It’s the new year now but if every one of us applied those lessons to our lives…what a wonderful world it would be

  28. Carol Millen says:

    It’s the new year now but if every one of us applied those lessons to our lives, what a wonderful world it would be!!

  29. Kay Davis says:

    What a great story!! Brought tears to my eyes. Even though Christmas is over, it is always good to read a good Christmas story!

  30. What a heartwarming story! And that, my friend, is what it means to make a difference in someone’s life, A good reminder for us all. ~ Warm blessings, Annie

  31. Loved this!

  32. Marliece Bate says:

    A very touching and inspirational story. Thank-you!

  33. Wow, I just love this Christmas story, reminded me of my grandpa so much… you don’t often here good stories like this… It is well worth reading… I am very impressed by it…

  34. Carol Robinson says:

    This is the “Best” story I have read in a long time. I’ve always said, if people did all year as they do at Christmas, This would be a better world. Very touching story,,,,,

  35. Ramona Davis says:

    Dear Debbie: What a wonderful CHRISTmas story. It brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  36. Linda Lee says:

    Well, here it is 3 weeks after Christmas and I have a tear (and more) on my cheeks enjoying the Christmas Story told in a new way.

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