Huddle House, Hitchhikers and the Super 8 Motel   4 comments



My dear friend Amanda is pregnant with her first child. I can’t quite imagine what it feels like to have a person growing inside of you- knowing that some day soon you will meet face to face a small creature that will radically transform every aspect of your life. For that first nine-ish months you are scooped up for this journey that involves lots of weird feelings and changes. I suspect the odds are in my favor that some day I will experience this aspect of adult life but now is not my time.

Since Amanda is newly pregnant and experiencing some of the “delights” of early motherhood- I decided to pay her and her husband, Dr. So and So, an impromptu visit to their little corner of Texas a couple of weeks back. I felt somewhat motherly, or attempted to be that great friend who sweeps in and cooks and cleans and restores hope for humanity… in reality I came to the conclusion that I can be motherly for a day or two but then I need a nap! It’s a good thing Amanda is the one pregnant and not me!

We did have soup, and I taught her the beginnings of knitting, and I took their sweet dog Emma Dee for a walk (or she took me for a walk), and we watched an old Hitchcock film. It felt productive.

After deciding to head home a day early so I could take my time on the journey, I stopped for a late lunch at the Huddle House. The Huddle House is a terrible wish-it-was-a Waffle House but I was hungry and the road ahead looked long so I stopped in.

As soon as I walked in I saw a man in a corner booth and immediately wondered what his story was and how he would choose to murder me given the golden opportunity.

I headed to the bathroom already feeling slightly guilty but checking to see if there were locks and proper escapes if he chose to follow me in and do away with me. (He didn’t, obviously).

On my way back into the restaurant I saw that he had a Bible verse on the back of his hoodie- not that this ensures anyone’s credibility but it incited a certain amount of conviction in me.

I sat down at my table and listened in as he quietly discussed his situation with his waitress. He used their phone to call the police- desperate for a ride to a nearby Catholic church where he hoped he might find shelter for the night and a hot meal.

I looked over several times taking in the sight of his belongings.


Sleeping bag

Worn hands

Tired, blood-shot eyes.

A sense of compassion replaced conviction. What on earth was a lone-travelling girl supposed to do to help someone so obviously situated outside of her comfort zone and in need of a hand?

The only word pulsing through my mind was “Jesus”


He just wanted somewhere dry to lay his head and it looked as if his only hope was a thick pallet of concrete under the highway overpass.

I could not possibly relate to this need. Ever.

Every avenue of help ended with a laugh on the other end of the phone.

We were surrounded by hotels and motels and I thought that for sure the least that I could do was put him up in a hotel for the night so that he could have a shower and a safe place to rest.

Before I knew it he had walked out and I thought I had missed my opportunity.

Whew! Really dodged a bullet there, eh Jesus?!

However, I reluctantly agreed to do something if I saw him again. Knowing I would.

I payed for my lunch and headed out the door. Skeptic as the day is long, I checked all around my car and in the trunk to be sure a serial killer hadn’t stowed away and off I set.

I saw him as I approached the on ramp and pulled up beside him.

His sign read “Alexandria”.

It was forty miles away.

I rolled down the window and explained that I had seen him in the Huddle House and that I couldn’t let him get in the car because I have a Dad who would kill me if I ever picked up a hitchhiker.

Next thing I knew I had thrown all of my things in the back seat and opened the door for him.

Enter: Tim.

I told Tim that I was trusting the Lord to protect me and that I would prefer if he didn’t try to kill me. I find it best to be completely honest in all situations.

I had intentions of pulling off at the next exit and bringing Tim back to one of the hotels in Natchitoches but the exits never came. Before I knew it we were forty miles down the road.

Tim accompanied me all the way to Alexandria where I checked him into the ever luxurious Super 8 Motel. He asked me for nothing. Literally nothing.

We talked about Jesus. We talked about Tim’s little girl who he hasn’t seen in 14 years. We talked about where he’s been and where he’s going and how badly he wants a second chance in life… and a shower.

He was weird. He smelled funny. His eyes were tired and bloodshot. He talked as if no one had listened in a long time.

I told him how I envied the simplicity of his life- having everything he owned on his back- and urged him to embrace this rough time and to seek the holiness and restoration that God offers in all of our trials and stages of life.

Without saying it, Tim taught me that God is near when he seems far and that he can use even the most unlikely people in the most unlikely situations to reveal the precious love of Christ and a glimpse of the Kingdom.

Blessed are the meek, the poor in spirit, the persecuted, those who mourn, those who seek righteousness, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the merciful.

The entire time I spent with Tim this song ran through my mind. It’s called “Jesus” and it’s by Shaun Groves.

“Where thou art. . .

Posted January 30, 2013 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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4 responses to “Huddle House, Hitchhikers and the Super 8 Motel

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  1. Wonderful!

  2. I enjoyed reading this story a lot. It reminds me of my own hitchhiking experiences and the people who have helped me out on the road.

  3. This reminds me of an experience I had last summer. Here’s what I wrote:

  4. I enjoyed your post very much. You never know who the Lord will put in your path.

    You wrote: “Could he be an angel?” One time I was hitchhiking in Nebraska and this truck driver picked me up. Here is the rest of the story:

    “High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America”

    And one more:

    “Are You An Angel?”

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