Police-in-MirrorMy son Jonathan (32, Down syndrome) leaned forward in the truck so the traffic cop could see him. “I don’t have time for this!” Jonathan declared. The policeman leaned in to get a better look. “Oh, you don’t?” he asked. “No, I don’t!” Jonathan insisted.

The Goodwill transport van hadn’t come to get Jonathan that morning, so his caregiver Linda had hopped in her old truck and was speeding Jonathan to his job. Speeding being the operative word here, Linda had been pulled over by the police.

Ignoring Linda, the policeman continued his conversation with Jonathan. “Why? Where are you going?”

“I’m going to work.”

“You are? Well, where do you work?”

“I work at Goodwill, and I don’t have time for this!”

The policeman continued an affable conversation with Jonathan and Linda for a while, and then he tapped the top of her truck quietly and said, “I have a son with Down syndrome. You folks have a good day now, slow down, and be safe.”

Traffic Ticket Police Vehicle - A police cruiser with the lights flashing has stopped a speeding car along the interstate highway and is issuing a ticket.

Now what are the chances of that happening in a large city like Cincinnati? 1 in a million? Less? When I encounter extraordinary, kind human beings in unexpected ways, I sometimes call that “God with skin on.” God’s kindness in tangible form. Like a reminder that He hasn’t forgotten us, that our kids are somehow taken care of.

The most extraordinary experience Jonathan has had of “God with skin on” came several years ago when a Delta Airlines pilot stepped in to take full responsibility for Jonathan when the jet’s computers ran into trouble on the tarmac and all the passengers bailed, leaving Jonathan as the sole remaining passenger. I’ll never forget Captain Jake Snyder. But that’s a story I can tell another day…or you can read about it in my book Down Syndrome Parenting 101. (Page 221) And yes, there was indeed a beautiful backstory to Captain Jake’s compassion; I knew there had to be!

Another story, another day…

May you and your children have many blessed encounters with “God with skin on!”

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  • Barb Drummond

    Natalie! I LOVE this story and your phrase “God with skin on!” ….and…the fact that Jonathan takes his work so seriously he did not want to be late! Nice responsibility!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Natalie Hale

      Thanks, Barb! I’m still amazed that the chances of that happening are close to zero…