In 1997, Rhonda and Ray Denton toured Europe. The last city they visited was Paris, where they enjoyed art galleries and museums, viewing French and Dutch master paintings and the impressionistic art of Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir. They gazed up at the Eiffel Tower, walked beside the Seine River, and dined on delicious food in restaurants with English menus. Although there was a language barrier, this did not pose a problem until their last day in Paris.
On the day of their departure, a taxi arrived at the hotel at 4:45 a.m. to take them to the train station. From the station, they would take a train to Charles de Gaulle Airport and then fly home. While riding in the taxi, Rhonda noticed that the streets of Paris looked very different in that pre-dawn hour.
“We were passing many questionable characters,” she explained, “people you wouldn’t see in daylight hours. When we stepped out of the taxi and entered the train station, we were surprised to find ourselves in a deserted area with empty booths.”
When a man and woman walked by, Rhonda asked them for directions. The woman responded with a quizzical smile — she did not understand English.
As Rhonda and Ray stood in the virtually empty terminal feeling helpless and uneasy, suddenly a man appeared, sporting a purple shirt and a great big smile. He walked straight toward them, as if he had been sent to meet them. When he got close, Rhonda said, “Bus shuttle to airport.” The man asked, “Taxi?” Rhonda said, “No taxi.”
So the man motioned for them to follow and began leading them through the terminal. As they hurried along behind the stranger, not knowing where he was taking them, Rhonda turned to Ray and whispered, “Should we be doing this?”
Nevertheless, they continued on. Reaching a turnstile area, they saw that they needed tickets for the turnstile. The stranger entered information (in French) into a machine and determined that the cost would be 136 francs. When Ray emptied his pockets, he found only 86 francs in paper; he had no coins, and the machine took only coins.
When the stranger saw that Ray didn’t have proper currency, he retrieved a credit card from his own pocket, put it in the machine, purchased two tickets, and gave them to Ray.
Helping Rhonda with her luggage, the man then took them over to the proper turnstile and then pointed to escalators that led to the train area. When they turned back to thank the helpful stranger, he had disappeared.
Once at the train stop, they began talking with a nice French lady who spoke some English and seemed to be going their way; she helped them get on the right train and then showed them where to get off at the airport.
Remembering Paris, Rhonda and Ray are certain that God sent the man in the purple shirt and the French lady to help them that day. Perhaps they were angels disguised as ordinary people.
Virginia Dawkins may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.