Not long ago he gave me a little green flashlight. It’s just one of the things Thomas does: he buys little flashlights and gives them away to people. Maybe he knows there are times when we could all use a little more light in our life.
I had one of those times recently.
I was on my way to my nephew’s wedding reception, which was way, way out in the country. I was driving down a narrow, twisty two-lane road after dark when my right front tire began to go whump-whump-whump! There was no brightly lit gas station by the side of the road where I could pull over and take a look. I had to settle for the first wide spot in the road. I went around to have a look at the tire, but even with the headlights on it was too dark to see.
And then I remembered.
In my glove compartment was a little flashlight Thomas Roane had given me. I got it out, clicked the button on the end, and a bright beam of light shot up into the night sky. I was able to see that a small branch had gotten caught under my right front fender; that’s what was making the noise. I yanked it free, tossed it over the fence, and was on my way in no time, thanks to my little flashlight.
Thomas gave me his card along with that flashlight. He said, “If you ever run out of gas, or have a flat tire, or need a jump start, give me a call.” This is what he does: he provides roadside assistance—free of charge—mostly to elderly women but also, occasionally, to Baptist preachers.
And he also does this: Thomas lives at Imperial Plaza, one of the retirement communities in our city. Imperial Plaza pays $500 to anyone who refers a new resident. Thomas says it’s a nice place to live, and that if you mention his name when you sign up he will give his $500 to First Baptist Church.
I don’t know what moved Thomas to do all this. Maybe he got stuck on a dark, country road one night without a flashlight and vowed that he would never let that happen to anyone else. Whatever it was, this has become his way to bring heaven to earth—to be the person who shows up with a gas can, a tire iron, some jumper cables, or a flashlight—to be the one who rescues damsels in distress and the occasional Baptist preacher.
This is how Thomas lets his little light shine.