This story takes place during summer 2012 when I was working at Camp Qwanoes for the week.
It was a sunny summer day and I had just finished my shift at the summer camp in Croften, BC. It was time to unwind and do something wild, wonderful and adventurous. I felt a bit stuck at the camp with 600+ people all crammed into a small radius. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “why not go kayaking on Salt Spring Island this late afternoon?” With joy and excitement surging through my body I headed to the ferry that would take me across to the island in 15min.
I checked the ferry times and told myself I’d be back for the 9pm sailing back to Croften. While on the ferry I met a man (in his mid fifties) that told me he’d happily give me a ride to Ganges. Ganges is the main town on Salt Spring and the place where I’d be taking my kayaking tour. People on the island were used to hitch hiking. In fact it was encouraged as there were many “car stops” places where people could pick you up for a ride.
I made it to the place where I’d take my kayak tour. My guide was a guy in his young 20’s who was a salt spring native. He talked of how he was going to travel once the summer was over. He was thinking of going to Australia. The tour took us (a group of 5) to a place called chocolate beach. It was beautiful there! My adventure tank was full! I was having a blast.
Once the tour was over one of the other group members gave me a ride to the ferry. Ahh, I sat on the dock waiting for the ferry to arrive. The sun was setting and this day couldn’t be more glorious! The ferry was approaching. Suddenly a strange feeling crept over me. I was the only one at the doc waiting for the ferry. Where were the cars? Where were the other foot passengers? The ferry was docking and the crew were coming off the ferry. Oh no! Then it hit me, this was the last ferry! There was no ferry going across to Crofen! It turns out I read the times for the weekend. The ferry ended earlier on the week days. I was stranded on Salt Spring Island with only the cloths on my back and my backpack with my wet towel in it!
Sheepishly I walked up to one of the crew members and told him I was stranded. He happened to be one of the ferry drivers. He gave me his phone and let me call the camp. Maybe the camp could come get me in one of their boats. To my dismay there was no answer and I left a message. The driver (I can’t remember his name) said “Maybe you can stay the night with me and my wife, we have a spare room in our basement.” He made a phone call to his wife and sure enough it was ok with her. Whew!
He drove me to his town home, once in the door I met his wife who fixed me some tea. Then he showed me downstairs to my room. It was comfortable and cozy and I had a good nights sleep. The next morning I was driven back to the ferry by this kind man. It turns out that he used to be a pastor of a church. Knowing that I was a Christian he asked if he could pray for me. He prayed a beautiful prayer of blessing over me. And after I was off back to the other side to continue my work at the camp.
I smiled as the ferry took me back to Croften. My heart was full. I had just experienced the kindness of a stranger. A man and his wife who barely knew me and provided me with shelter for the night. God was certainly looking out for me that night. I felt His love, kindness and protection so close and near.
I believe as we step out into the unknown that we are led, guided and protected. I’ll never forget this moment in time. Where I was shown mercy and kindness.