The parish where I live and serve covers several square miles with lots of dirt roads, but public transportation is limited – though much better than it was several years ago.
Three busses pass by Plan Grande twice a day – but that still leaves limited opportunities for people to get to where they need to be. Some will walk – two or more hours; some will seek a ride.
My custom is to give rides to people I know, though only up to four in the truck’s bed (partly because that’s the law, but more so because of safety concerns). I will also often give rides to folks who ask – if the truck isn’t full and if they aren’t drunk. I will often stop and offer a ride to the elderly or to women or families with kids who are walking – especially if I see them walking up the long hill toward Dulce Nombre.
Often, after they get off the truck, ask me how much do they owe me: “¿Cuánto le debo?”
I used to say nothing but a few months ago, realizing my need for prayer, began asking them to say an Our Father for me.
That sometimes surprises them – and once a woman told me she would say a whole rosary for me.
But, knowing my need for prayer, I continue this custom.
Yesterday, returning to Plan Grande from Dulce Nombre, I gave a ride to three people who were going past Plan Grande. César, a kid, recognized me and called out as I passed. I gladly gave the ride to him and to Tomás, who might be his grandfather.
They were going to El Zapote and so got off the truck when I turned into Plan Grande.
Tomás came to the driver’s side door and asked me how much. I told him that he and César had to say an Our Father for me. He asked me, “Now?” I said,
So Tomás put his hand on my left arm and prayed aloud the Lord’s Prayer.
I was touched – hearing this man pray for me, hearing him pray the prayer Jesus taught us.
I was touched by his tender prayer for me.