Angels in Disguise

Angels in Disguise

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

Angels in Disguise

Shortly after college graduation, I found myself in a financial bind. The “dream job” I envisioned wasn’t materializing, and I had managed to accumulate a significant amount of debt waiting for it to happen.

It was the summer of 1990. I was living in a high-rise apartment in a not-so-nice neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio. I had just completed a six-month temporary assignment, and I was now among the ranks of the unemployed.

A dear friend, LeAnn, came to visit me for a week to help me get my mind off of my situation. We did our best to find free entertainment. One day we walked into the heart of the city. It was an extremely warm and humid day, so we stopped at a small restaurant to get a couple of sodas.

I had three dollars to my name. The sodas cost two dollars. As we were leaving the restaurant, an unkemptlooking homeless man approached us and asked us for change for bus fare. I told him I only had one dollar, and asked if that would be enough. He took my hand in both of his and gazed directly into my face. His eyes were the deepest blue I had ever seen, and they seemed to smile all on their own. He said, “God bless you, my child. The next time I see you, I’m going to give you two dollars.” I smiled back, knowing the chances of ever seeing him again were next to nothing.

As we walked away from him, LeAnn began berating me for giving my last dollar to a homeless man. She reminded me that he might use it to buy alcohol or drugs. I told her that if he did, he did. It was his choice, and not for me to judge. LeAnn was not of my faith, so I shared with her my philosophy on giving to those in need. I told her about the lessons contained in King Benjamin’s address in the Book of Mormon on this very topic. She listened, but she maintained that I had unwisely thrown my money away.

Two days later, LeAnn and I were walking along the river when we encountered a gentleman sitting quietly by himself. He motioned us over and wanted to chat. He seemed lonely. He told us all sorts of tales about Dayton and the changes that had taken place there over the years. When it came time for us to leave, he reached into his wallet. I refused profusely, but he insisted that we take the money from his hand.

It was exactly two dollars. He said, “I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you girls. Please go buy yourselves two sodas on me.”

We thanked him and left in silence. After several minutes, LeAnn looked at me and said, “Those are the two dollars that homeless man promised to give you!”

I smiled and said, “I know.” Neither of us could explain what had just happened, but both of us were certain that on both occasions—with each of these random strangers— we had been in the presence of angels in disguise.

Rochelle Johnson

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