My wife and I had a late work day last week, so I decided to swing by a drive-thru and grab a sandwich for dinner. In front of me was a car with roughly 20 bumper stickers on the back. Some of the stickers didn’t make sense to me, but most of them were related to MMO video games that I am familiar with. The young man in the car was a little unkempt and I imagined he probably spent a good amount of time behind the computer with headphones on. Admittedly my mind went to gamer stereotypes, which are mostly untrue, but still embedded in pop culture.
When it was my turn to pay for my order, the woman at the window said, “The driver in front of you paid for your meal. Have a great day.” She handed me the receipt and something that looked like a coupon. Distracted by the driver’s kindness, I paid no attention to it and put it on the seat next to me.
I was thankful he pulled to the side so I could wave to him, but then the young man stepped out of his car, came to my window and said while pointing at the coupon, “God bless you, sir, did you get our invitation?” I picked it up and saw that it was an invitation to his church. I replied, “Thank you for inviting me and thank you for dinner!”
This was heartening to me. It was marketing of course, brilliant marketing in fact. But this young man, who I had pegged (wrongly) to be one type, believed in his church and faith so much that he was willing to buy a stranger dinner and invite him to the place that gives him hope. I have no idea what fruit in terms of visitors such a campaign will have – and of course, I won’t attend because I have a church that I love and that gives me hope.
Do you feel the same? Maybe we should try it. You never know what might happen when you buy a stranger dinner.*
*see Luke 24