THE BLOG
01/09/2013 11:02 am ET Updated Mar 11, 2013

Mysterious Ways: Wrong Place, Right Time

Written by Becky Gomoll, this story first appeared in the January 2013 issue of Guideposts magazine, a monthly publication, founded by Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, that provides hope, encouragement and inspiration to millions. Download of a condensed version of 'The Power of Positive Thinking' absolutely FREE.

Airports stress me out. So after a short flight from San Jose, California, to visit friends in Portland, Oregon, I was anxious to escape the terminal. I'd brought only a carry-on to avoid the chaos of the baggage claim.

A quick stop in the restroom and I'd head down to the lower level, where my friends were going to pick me up.

Then I saw it. A cute little stuffed dog, sitting all by itself on a bench in the main terminal area. Some poor kid was probably heartbroken at having lost it.

Okay, God, I thought, if that dog is still there when I get out of the restroom, I'll trust you to show me what to do with it.

Sure enough, the dog was still there, slumped over like a tired traveler with a long layover. I picked it up, stuck it in my bag and headed out the door.

I'd just gotten outside when my cell phone rang. "Becky, we're going to be late," one of my friends said. "We left with plenty of time, but this traffic is really bad. We'll be there; just hold tight, okay?"

"Don't worry," I said. "I'm outside the departures area by United. I'll just wait here."

I stood by the curb, leaning against the handle of my rolling suitcase, and continued chatting with my friend until I noticed a young woman talking loudly into her cell phone, looking frantic, a little girl at her side.

"Mom, I told you, we're outside by United! We've been here for twenty minutes at least! No, Mom, I don't see you. Are you sure you're in the right place?" The tension grew in her voice.

I touched her gently on the arm. "I think I know what's happening," I said. "Your mom is at arrivals; this is departures." I pointed at the sign.

Relief washed over her face. "Mom, I'm sorry, we're on the level for departures. I got mixed up," she said. "The flight was so stressful, and I've been running all over the airport. Your granddaughter lost her stuffed dog somewhere."

I pulled the stuffed dog out of my bag. The woman almost dropped her phone. The little girl squealed and gave me a hug.

Just then my friends arrived. I waved to the woman and her little girl then climbed into the car.

"Sorry, we didn't figure on traffic being quite that bad," one of my friends said as we pulled away from the curb.

Maybe they were late for a reason.

Written by Becky Gomoll, this story first appeared in the January 2013 issue of Guideposts magazine, a monthly publication, founded by Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, that provides hope, encouragement and inspiration to millions. Download of a condensed version of 'The Power of Positive Thinking' absolutely FREE.