Help when it was needed most

Published 7:51 pm Saturday, August 21, 2010

By David Carter

Responding to an ad on eBay, I called a man named Steve Meitner, the owner of Ameracat, a producer of catamaran powerboats. Steve and I talked over the phone many times about boats, politics and spiritual topics.

Last fall, I agreed to purchase a boat and drove to Florida to pick it up. Immediately, Steve and I developed a comradeship, and he told me this story.

In 1992, he said, he was in the used car business with his partner Grayson. Steve’s car sales were so low, he didn’t know how he was going to put food on his table and feed his family.

One afternoon, a man walked onto the lot wanting to buy a car. This wasn’t his usual customer, for this man was dressed in filthy rags, and he smelled. He told Steve he had been kicked off several car lots because of his appearance, but Steve treated him with respect and gave him something to eat. The customer insisted on buying the car, even though he had no credit card, no bank account and no driver’s license.

He gave Steve his lawyer’s phone number in Miami and told him to ask the lawyer to wire him $6,000 for the car, plus an additional $2,000 for himself.

Shortly afterward, the money arrived at Steve’s bank, and Steve issued the customer his $2,000. But he was unable to endorse the title to an unlicensed driver.

The man asked Steve to hold the car and said he’d pick it up later. A year later, the car remained on the lot. Steve called the lawyer and explained the situation. The lawyer responded, “Forget it; put it back on the lot and sell it. No refund.”

Being able to resell the car helped Steve in a time of extreme financial difficulty.

Steve turned to me. “Do you believe in angels?” he asked. When I responded that I did, he said, “I thought this man was an angel sent to help me in troubled times.”

“I don’t know if he was or wasn’t,” I said. “But I do know God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes He sends those we least expect to help us when we are in trouble.”