It’s funny how some of life’s most major events slip from your memory whilst other, seemingly less memorable, events stay at the forefront of your mind.
For no apparent reason, I started thinking on Friday night about the day I almost got abducted – something that I had almost completely forgotten about and haven’t thought about in well over a decade.
I don’t remember how old I was, I guess I was around 12, when one day I took the bus into town alone to go and buy a new tennis racket.
Taking the bus into town on my own was not unusual for me, but this day would turn out to be like no other.
The specifics are very vague in my memory but I clearly remember that I was looking at the racks of sports equipment and clothing in Debenhams department store when a lady started taking an unusual interest in me.
You have to remember that I was in England at the time, where people very much keep themselves to themselves so, when this woman tried to start up a conversation with me across a rack of clothes, it was very odd indeed.
I moved on quickly but she followed me to the next rack, and the next, trying to get me talking, trying to get a little closer.
In the end I think she offered to help pay for my new tennis racket, which was when I fled the store and ran for my life.
At first she followed me out into the street but I had the advantage of being young, fit and terrified and I don’t know whether she decided not to continue following me or whether I just out ran her. Whichever it was, I ran the half mile across the town center to my father’s office without stopping once.
As I ran, I checked back over my shoulder regularly and was relieved to see she wasn’t following me but the fear of what she might have been trying to do kept my legs moving and my heart racing.
I can’t be certain but I think, as I entered the lobby of my dad’s office block, I pressed the button for the elevator, but even though I was pretty sure I had lost my pursuer I got scared of waiting in one place and ran up the stairs instead.
I vaguely remember running straight past dad’s secretary and bursting straight into his office where he was in the middle of a meeting. Those details may be a little cloudy in my mind but this one certainly is not: My day took one look at my face, saw the fear and the tears and dropped everything to give his little boy the time and love I needed.
Dad left work early and we walked back to the store together. He asked me to keep an eye out for the mystery woman who had scared his son so much but I couldn’t spot her.
I have no idea whether or not I got my new racket that day but I do know this: I’m forever grateful that my Dad was prepared to drop everything for me when I needed him the most. He put me first and I’m so very thankful that he did.
As I thought about that on Friday night, I was reminded of how great it is to have a Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us and is never too busy to take the time to talk with us.
It just blows me away that God loves us so much and gives us all individual attention – God truly is a great dad!
As it happened, Friday night was also the night of my four year old son’s first sleepover at a friends house. Given that it was his first night away from family, I wasn’t at all surprised when, at around midnight, I got a call from a tearful little boy saying, “Dad, I want to come home”.
“OK son,” I answered, “I’m on my way.”
As we were driving home a little while later, a sleepy voice said to me from the back seat of the car, “Thanks for coming to get me, dad. I just needed to be at home”
“That’s OK son,” I answered, “you can call me any time you need.”