Pennies from Heaven

My daughter suffers from cerebral palsy. As a result of this disability, she is forced to use her wheelchair at times when we are out and about.

A few summers ago, our community held a free concert in the park and we attended. We parked her chair in the back of the park since the noise level was overwhelming for her up front.

At some point in the evening, a man noticed her and I sitting in the back and he approached us. He was driving his own motorized chair. He struck up a conversation with my four-year-old daughter. She was awed by his power chair and they became instant friends.

I immediately noticed this man was paralyzed and even he stopped for breaths of air during his conversation with my daughter. Their topic of conversation ranged from how fast their chairs could go, to what my daughter liked to play with. She mentioned she liked to count her money. At home, she had a bank in which she had collected many pennies and frequently took them out so she could count them. It was one of her favorite things to do.

As the concert ended, the kind man asked if I could stop by his church a few days later. He instructed me to go to the receptionist and she would handle it from there. He then drove off in his chair.

From a distance, I noticed he was greeted by the crew of volunteers at the concert. I immediately knew he must belong to the church hosting this concert and the volunteers greeted him as a life long friend.

My daughter asked me to take her to the church that week and I did so hesitantly. Warning her it may be nothing, I wondered who this man was and what he was up to. It seemed harmless since he had only requested we go to his church.

We arrived at his church and found our way to the receptionist. We told her our names and a smile began to spread on her face. From behind her desk, she pulled a sack. An extremely heavy sack. This sack contained 5,000 pennies. The card attached read “pennies from heaven for you.”

Needless to say, my daughter was in awe of her new pennies. She spent countless hours playing with her new pennies.

This gentlemen knew her limitations, for he lived in her shoes everyday. He knew how difficult typical play must be for her. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied this gentlemen watching her reaction to the pennies from afar. The joy in his face was evident and the joy in this mother’s heart was overflowing. For a stranger to take such interest in another human being, to do what they can to brighten a child’s day when her days are so tough, to me was heavenly.

These things only surmounted my wonder as to who this unnamed man was. A year later, I saw, purely by coincidence, a photograph of several prominent physicians posing for the camera at a prestigious golf tournament — and standing among them was this mysterious man. I learned that this man had been a vital part of our community and had been paralyzed in a terrible car accident. Now he is an even more vital part of our large community. He humbly spreads his generosity to those in need.

Andra Barker, Indiana

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