Universal One Foundation

Stronger Than Three Men

I go to church in a downtown area. Homeless people often wander into the back of the sanctuary during the service or linger in front, blocking the doorway. Even though we sponsored a soup kitchen and handed out warm clothes in winter, somehow I found myself thinking of the homeless as a nuisance. It wasn't until the accident that I understood how wrong I was.

At the time, I was vice president of a nuts and bolts distribution company. That day I had joined a three-man crew to put up some new display cases at the hardware store. With me working on one side, while my men worked on the other, we assembled a double-sided metal rack, 24 feet long and 6 feet high, that would stand between two aisles. The empty rack wasn't all that heavy, but as we filled it up with nuts, bolts, screws and nails. it became a massive wall weighing nearly a ton.

I was kneeling to check the bottom shelf when the rack seemed to tremble. "That's strange, we've been careful to keep it balanced", I thought. Just then I stood up to see the wall tipping toward me. Before I could move out of the way, the entire unit came crashing down, crushing me against the floor in a hailstorm of nuts and bolts. "Get this thing off me!" I grunted, gritting my teeth. I tried to breathe normally, but the pressure on my chest was too much, and the pain too great.

The men ran around to my side and got their hands underneath the rack. "One, two, three-push! they said. it didn't budge. They tried again. Nothing happened. Feeling light-headed, I noticed another fellow rushing over to help. "What good can he do, it'll take ten people to lift this thing", I thought.

The new rescuer stood on the other side of the rack, opposite us. From the look of him, I wondered if he knew what he was doing. He had a grimy, pockmarked face, reddish-blonde hair, and a week's worth of stubble. He wore a tattered orange tank top, shorts and an earring. "Some homeless bum", I thought. But his arms were tremendous, like Popeye's.

"Get over on this side", I tried to say, but the words wouldn't come. "One, two, three..." my men yelled. Popeye's muscles flexed and bulged, yet his face hardly showed any strain. It seemed impossible, but with his help, the rack was lifted off me. I scrambled out as it was lowered to the ground. I sat there for a long while, catching my breath. My buddies hovered around me, but there was no sign of the guy in the orange top. "Where's the redhead?" I asked. None of them knew what I was talking about. It was then I remembered my Old Testament: "We could be entertaining angels unaware." Maybe even at a soup kitchen.

Mark Happach
Glendale, California