Chance of a Lifetime in a Small Diet Coke


“Just a small diet coke, please,” I said into the metal microphone hanging on the post below the menu sign.


It came to $1.07. I reached into my car’s special little cubby and pulled out a dollar bill and a dime. When I got to the drive-through window, I told the cashier not to worry about the three pennies. He dutifully put the dollar bill in the till, dropped the dime into its place, counted out three pennies, turned to hand them to me, turned back quickly saying, “Oh yah,” and put the pennies back. As he handed me my drink, I smiled and said, “What are you thinking about?”


He looked at me for a quick moment as if digesting my question. His countenance changed just a bit and he said, “My five year old daughter.”


I said, “They’re sure fun at that age,” as I placed my drink in the cup holder.


I looked back at him. Keeping his composure, but with the corners of his mouth wavering with the signs of distress, he said, “She’s really sick.” I asked him what was wrong. He shrugged his shoulders saying they had her to the hospital but they sent her home; and they don’t know what is wrong. He said he is worried about her. I asked if he would mind if I prayed for his daughter and when he agreed, I asked her name. He told me her name but then he turned his right forearm in my direction. His little daughter’s name and birthdate and an impression of her baby feet were beautifully tattooed forever into his flesh. A car approached from behind me, so I promised to pray for her as he wished me a nice day and I drove away from the window.


As I drove away, I thought about this big man who is tending the drive-through window at a local fast-food place in my town. I wondered how many customers that day complained to him about their order or handed him their payment and grabbed their food without ever making eye contact with this man who is carrying such a heavy burden. I wondered how many times he said, “Have a nice day!” to those same people all the while knowing he wouldn’t.


Then I remembered the prayer I had prayed that day, like everyday, “Lord, give us an opportunity to bring honor and glory to you today, in everything we do and say.” I realized on this day, the heat that drove me into the fast-food joint for a cold drink, was a whole lot more than just a small diet coke. It was the chance of a lifetime, to notice the heart of a total stranger! My heart erupted into the doxology, and I praised God for the miracle of a sick little girl’s life and I prayed for a miracle for the daughter and her daddy who bears such a heavy load.

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