One of my “other duties as assigned” at work is to represent the hospital at various community events, such as health fairs, concerts, and sporting events. A few weeks ago I headed out to historic Sam Lynn ballpark, home of the Bakersfield Blaze, a Class A affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds. That evening the baseball team was hosting “Faith and Family Night.” As I left the office I grabbed my iPad to help ward off any downtime.
Naturally, I didn’t open it once.
After the event I drove the hospital van back to campus, picked up my car, and headed home. As I pulled into my garage 20 minutes later, I had that oh-so-familiar sinking feeling. Frantically looking around, I confirmed my suspicion: I’d left my iPad in the van; at least I hoped that’s where it was.
Now, as we all know, technology can be both good and bad. At this particular moment it was on my side. Pulling out my iPhone, I logged into my “Find iPhone” app. The app uses GPS to locate any Apple device—iPhone, iPad, iMac—iWhatever. After a few seconds I felt a slight relief as it located my iPad, safe and sound in the hospital’s parking garage.
The next morning I headed to my first appointment of the day, a media appearance a few miles from the hospital. Just after I’d arrived, one of my coworkers called and alerted me that someone else had to use the hospital van. Since there was an extra key, I didn’t have to break the speed limit to get back to the hospital.
Just as I was hanging up, it occurred to me: my iPad was still in the van!
Then I had another thought: Wait a second; I know exactly where they’re going.
Pulling out my iPhone, I opened the app for the sixty-seventh time since abandoning my trusty tablet the night before. In a few seconds the app located my iPad, and the van. It was still downtown, not far from the hospital.
Fearing the van could be headed out of town, I decided to make a quick pit stop. Sure enough, as I pulled into the parking lot, the van was exactly where I thought it would be (thank you, Apple). I unlocked the door and reached between the driver’s seat and center console for my iPad. Reunited at last, I scampered back to my car. Then it hit me. What if someone saw me drive up, open the door of another car, take something out, then drive away? They’d probably think I was stealing!
Looking around cautiously, I noticed an older gentleman facing me, seemingly oblivious to my shenanigans. Scanning the scene, I noticed that the hood of his car was open.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you need help?”
“Well, my car won’t start, and I could use a jump.”
Pulling my car into the space directly in front of his 1970s van, we hooked up the jumper cables. Silently I asked the Lord to help it start. As I prayed I felt a slight prodding. Give him a copy of The Great Controversy.
Normally I don’t have extra copies in my car. But the night before, my fiancé and I had found a few extra books in her house. I had put them in my car, in case I ran across someone I could give one to.
We never got his van started. But as I was getting ready to leave I handed him the book. “This book changed my life. I hope you’ll read it.”
“I sure will,” he replied. “God bless you.”
As I drove to work I reflected on the set of circumstances that had to happen for this encounter to take place. I don’t know if God intended for me to forget my iPad so that I could give that fellow a copy of The Great Controversy.
But I wouldn’t put it past Him.
Jimmy Phillips ([email protected]) writes from Bakersfield, California, where he is electronic media coordinator for San Joaquin Community Hospital. Visit his Web site at www.introducingthewhy.com.