My friend and I were sitting at Starbucks today doing what most people do there, drinking coffee and shooting the breeze, when a sturdy old man wearing a slick golf cap and questionable plaid pants came over to tell us a story.
"Ya know when I was little, I took apart my sister's skates so that I could use the wheels. Those wheels went on the bottom of a two-by-four."
His perfectly trimmed gray mustache earned special attention as he smiled and recalled his invention.
"I set a plank over that board and set a big old orange crate on top of that."
He asked us if we knew the kind he was talking about, and we said we did, but we didn't.
"Ya know so you could sit in it. And oh boy, we cruised all around the neighborhood in that thing me and my gang of friends. You know gangs and stuff? I grew up in a rough area with gangs, so I had a gang of my own."
We nodded and politely feigned interest in his story. His authentic smile kept me from thinking him a convalescent home escapee.
"I just thought I'd tell you that story and share that with you guys."
My friend Jesse expressed a believable gratitude for the story as I dipped my head down for a sip of coffee.
I thought the interaction would have ended by the time I finished my sip, but the burly old guy stuck around awhile.
"I've been reading this book here." He held up a copy of "The Cross and the Switchblade," by David Wilkerson, which tells the story of a man's evangelistic endeavors with gangs in New York city during the 1950s.
The old man smiled so big as he shared excerpts from the story that all his fillings were made visible. I think I counted about five. I admired his boldness as it was plain to see that he was about to go gospel on us.
"Miracles happened with this guy. Crazy stuff that God made happen because God can do anything and can change lives."
He told us that he used to be a professional wrestler and lived for himself and man's applause. His big frame and theatrical facial hair began to make more sense to me.
"But I don't care about that stuff anymore. It's all about God. It's all about His glory."
He asked if we were brothers, meaning believers, and we said yes.
He got excited about that and prophesied over us and prayed aloud for us right there in the middle of Starbucks.
He said he had been interceding for a group of men that meet regularly at that store. This group of bitter old retirees were a few tables away from us as he continued telling us about the goodness of God.
Before coming and praying for us he had encouraged another man with Biblical wisdom that he'd been gaining over the last 30+ years of his life.
"That guy said to me, 'wow! how do you know all of this?' But I just made sure to tell him that it was the Holy Spirit and that we are given God's wisdom because of that."
He expressed that even this spiritual truth is weighty for his mind to grasp as he brought both of his big wrinkly hands over his head with a shake for dramatic effect.
He shared the love of God with us because he said that God had told him early on his spiritual walk that "God's love is not meant to be found and held on to, but is meant to be given away to everyone you meet."
After blessing us with his prayer and "fire" from the Spirit, he gave us both big bear hugs and told us that he loved us.
He waved goodbye to the group of men he'd been interceding for and walked out to his car.
The men began to ask among themselves if they knew who that guy was and no one did, but they smiled and waved to him again as the old gospel-preaching wrestler continued to wave in to them from the other side of the window.
Jesse and I just smiled at each other and sat warm in the fire of hope and love that the old guy left behind.