One evening at closing time, Gerald started to read the pumps and clear the cash register, just as he always did. His wife was waiting for him inside the station. “Just as I reached for the light switch, a dark blue Cadillac pulled up,” Gerald says. “There was one young man behind the wheel and he seemed nervous.” The man was looking from window to window and appeared to be talking, but there was no one else in the car!
Gerald decided to wait on him, even though it was a little past closing time. It would be the courteous and helpful thing to do, especially since it was so late at night. But as he walked toward the car, he asked God to send protection, especially for his wife who was just as vulnerable inside the station as he was.
“Can I help you?” Gerald asked the driver.
The window was down and the young driver, still looking somewhat nervous and scared, thrust a one-hundred dollar bill out to Gerald. “Give me fifty cents worth of high test,” he demanded.
Fifty cents from a hundred dollars! Now Gerald knew something was wrong. But, he pumped the small amount, keeping his eyes on the driver--who still seemed to be talking to someone--and tried to prepare for whatever happened next. But, as he put the nozzle back, the driver quickly turned on the engine and sped out of the gas station, tires squealing.
Gerald was astonished. What was wrong with this guy? He had acted so strangely--and then left his $100 bill without getting change. Gerald went into the office, told his wife the peculiar details, and took $99.50 out of the register and put it in an envelope. He wrote a note to the day manager about the extra money. Then, he and his wife drove home.
“Where are those two guys?” he asked.
“What two guys?” Gerald asked. He was getting more perplexed by the minute.
“The ones working here two nights ago,” the driver answered.
Was this man crazy? Gerald thought he’d better humor him. “Why do you ask?” he responded.
The aggression seemed to go out of the driver. “When I came in here then, I was planning to rob the station, and to kill you and your woman,” he said. The hair on the back of Gerald’s neck stood up. How well he remembered that nervous feeling as he had approached the car.
“But then,” the young man went on, “as I reached for my gun under the seat, these two big dudes--at least seven feet tall, wearing the same uniform as you--came up to the car and told me straight out: ‘We know why you are here, and if you take out that gun from the front seat, we will use your head for a basketball.’ The names on their uniforms were Clyde and Brutus.”
Clyde and Brutus? “But…” Gerald began.
“So keep the change, and tell those guys that I’m never coming back here again!” The driver revved his engine, and shot out of the station. Gerald stared after him in amazement. Not only did he NOT know a Clyde or a Brutus, but he knew that he had been the only employee on the premises when the dark blue Cadillac pulled in two nights ago.
Yet as he had approached the car, hadn’t he asked God, as always, to protect him from harm? Gerald still has some unanswered questions today about that episode. “I never knew that angels could be named Clyde and Brutus,” he says. Still, he looks forward to meeting them again someday.