I looked at my errands list and sighed. Nothing was going smoothly, and everything was taking longer than it should have. I still had three more stops to make before I could head home. I just wanted to finish my to-do list, but my stomach was rumbling. I decided to stop at a sandwich shop for a bite to eat before I tackled the rest of my errands.

I went inside and joined the socially distanced line to order. The older lady in front of me turned to me with a smile. “I have a ‘buy one sandwich, get one free’ coupon,” she said. “I can’t eat them both. Do you want the other one?”

“Oh, that’s so kind of you, but that’s OK,” I replied. “Why don’t you take the second sandwich home for later?”

“I’d really like to treat you to lunch,” she said.

I smiled and accepted her offer. She used her coupon to get my sandwich for free, and I bought a drink for each of us, which still saved me several dollars. I thanked her again and then said, “Would it be all right if I ate with you?”

Her smile lit up the room. “I’d love that. My name is Sue, by the way.”

I introduced myself and we found a table and sat down.

Meet and Munch
As I was unwrapping my sandwich, Sue said, “Excuse me for a moment while I pray over my food.”

That was my first clue that this lunch was a divine appointment. “I was about to do the same thing,” I said. “If you’re comfortable with it, we can pray out loud.”

Sue agreed. We each said a brief prayer, thanking God for the meal and the chance to worship together.

After we were done, I asked Sue which church she attended.

She told me the name and then said, “My husband died last year, and things have been hard. My church family has been a lifeline to me. But I miss having someone to talk to every day.”

“I’m so sorry, Sue, both for your loss and for your loneliness.”

“Thank you,” she said. “Last month, I prayed and asked God to show me a way to meet new people so I’d have company in between church services. As soon as I opened my eyes, I spotted the sandwich coupon in the newspaper. I knew the idea was heaven-sent. I came here the next day and had lunch with a wonderful young woman. Since then, my friends and family who live far away have been sending me their free sandwich coupons. Whenever I feel lonely, I grab a coupon and come here. I’ve had lunch with some great people.”

I smiled. “Well, I’m honoured that you chose me today.”

The Gift of Company
We had a lovely conversation about her husband and her children, who all live out of town, and especially her grandkids. We talked about our faith and what God has taught us in the hard times of life.

When it was time to go, I asked Sue if she would like to exchange phone numbers. “I think I have a sandwich coupon at my house,” I said. “I’d love to be your lunch buddy again sometime.”

To my surprise, she said yes to exchanging numbers but no to another lunch date. “Use your coupon to treat someone else, someone who looks lonely,” she said. “There are a lot of people out there like me, and you could offer one of them the gift of your company. I know they would appreciate it, as I have.”

I promised to do as she suggested. I thanked Sue for the lovely meal and for the wonderful, heaven-sent idea to use a sandwich coupon to make a new friend.

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