I looked at him in surprise. He smiled at me.
“I want you to come with me, to meet Vanni. He’is about to leave to go home, to Italy where he comes from. His wife has just had a baby – a little girl – and last night he was on his way to book a ticket for the train across the channel when he met you. Come with me and meet him. He’s a good guy. He’s been working here to save enough money to buy a home for his family.”
I really didn’t want to go, but again it was as if I was being drawn into a situation which I didn’t want to face.
I went with the young man, whose name, I discovered, was Mike, and met Giovanni. I’ve never felt so awkward in my life. With Mike’s encouragement we sat and talked. I told the two men how I felt and why I did what I did. Then I said,
“I’m so sorry, Vanni. Can you forgive me? I nearly took your life and ruined the life of your wife and baby. Can you forgive me?”
Do you know what he did? He smiled at me and held out his hand.
“Yes, I can forgive you. I am leaving tomorrow and we will probably never meet again. But I am fine, and I think you have learned a new lesson this weekend. Let us put the past behind us and part, perhaps not as friends, but on good terms.”
I shook his hand, and as I did so it was as if electric shocks ran up my arm and melted something hard in my heart. This man had forgiven me. Mike had given me a second chance. I smiled at them both, cautious about their response. And they both beamed at me and began to laugh.
I have changed since then. I work with Mike at the weekends helping kids who are in trouble one way or another. It has given me a purpose in my life. Vanni went home, and left his work. But I did not reapply. There were other doors opening for me and I have not looked back since that moment.
I did not realize it then but God had a plan for me and the events of that weekend began a new journey. I hear from Vanni from time to time. His daughter is growing and there is another child on the way. I am grateful to God that what I did was not fatal. I do not understand how it all came about, but it is good.
Just as the merchant tried to pay the good deed of the Samaritan forward in Mike’s story on that Sunday morning, so I try to do the same. Maybe other lives will be changed as a result. …
Aaron’s and Jonas’ stories are a sample of the God’s People series. If you have enjoyed them, check out my Publications page here for Witnesses and Disciples, the first two novels in the series. Watch this space for Believers, coming soon as an ebook!