It was late September, 1982, no one had a cell phone yet.
My one year stint working in a law office was just about up. I had taken the job while applying to law schools, just to make sure practicing law was what I really wanted to do.
I dreamed of being Perry Mason when I was a child. I loved how he uncovered the truth by the end of every episode. I loved how everything worked out fairly and squarely and dramatically.
But my Perry Mason dreams were deflated that year. Immersed in the day to day nuts and bolts of the law I saw that the legal practice is much more about posturing, winning at all costs and making money, money, money than it is about uncovering any kind of truth.
So I said no to the school that had already accepted me and no to the school that wait-listed me and took a job as a social worker instead.
But before I left the firm, on a late summer late afternoon, something perfectly Perry happened – no, better than that, something perfectly heavenly happened.
One of the senior partners asked me to drive to Lansing to file a motion with the Michigan Supreme Court. “You can take my car,” he said. “But you might want to get the oil changed first.”
I would barely have enough time to get there and get the motion filed. Get your own oil changed, I thought, sweetly, as I plucked his keys from his hand and headed out the door.
I made the hour and a half drive, stood in a long line, filed the motion with seconds to spare and headed back to the firm.
I was on a fairly deserted stretch of expressway, about an hour from the office, when the car’s engine suddenly lost power. Completely.
I coasted to the shoulder and stopped.
Before I could assess the situation, come up with a plan, consider my options, panic, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw a fancy red sports car pull up immediately behind me. Its very pleasant-looking driver got out and approached my car.
Ordinarily I would have been wary, somewhat frightened even, but on this day, oddly, I wasn’t.
We chatted about the law as he drove me to the nearest exit with a service station. He told me his name and the name of the firm for which he worked. He was an attorney who specialized in environmental law. I told him about an environmental case one of our attorneys was working on. He listened with interest and then gave me a piece of information to relay to that attorney saying it might be useful to his case.
When we got to the service station he arranged to have “my” car towed there. “You’ll be safe now,” he said as he drove away.
There was something so likable about him that I was sad to see him go.
The next morning I relayed the information he gave me to Jerry, the attorney on our environmental case.
A few days later Jerry approached me and asked, “What was the name of that attorney again?”
I told him.
“Are you sure you have the right firm?”
I rummaged through my purse: “Yep, I wrote it down right here. Why?”
“The information he gave you is about to win my case. Big time. So I called his firm to thank him and they insist there is no one there by that name.”
I never did become Perry Mason, but if I were to put that very handsome, very helpful good Samaritan on trial, I am convinced I could get him convicted of being an angel. My evidence? The perfect peace and lack of fear I felt while in his company, for starters.
The perfect piece of information he provided – the Hail Mary Pass Jerry needed just as the clock was running out on his trial.
And then there was the icing on the evidentiary cake – Jerry was representing a Christian couple who lived in another state.
God killed two birds with one bum car – giving a legal victory to a couple of His kids in Ohio by bringing an angel to the rescue of another of His kids in Michigan – by way of a senior partner who apparently NEVER got his oil changed.
You gotta’ love Him.