Mary, The Bicycle Thief :: By Jim Towers

POW!… flap, flap, flap, the flat tire said – on this, the first day of the worldwide heatwave.

I was on I75 on my way south doing seventy when the tire blew out. It was nearly noon, and the traffic was steady, with ten-wheelers racing to their destinations on the three-lane highway. My first thought was, “What good can come of this?” as I carefully pulled over the shoulder of the highway. Being familiar with flat tires and such, I got out of my vintage s10, remembering that the spare tire was attached to the undercarriage of the vehicle. I just happened to have a nice new large piece of cardboard in the back of the aluminum-covered bed for transporting the big stained-glass pieces and paintings I make as a hobby and slipped it under the truck.

After about an hour of struggling to free the spare tire, I was wasted; it was hot. Just then, I heard POW!… flap,…flap…flap. Sitting up after pulling myself out from under my pickup, I looked across the highway. A small white car had just had a blowout on the opposite side of the highway. Now, I ask, what are the odds that someone would also have a blowout at the same time as me – not fifty feet away, almost directly across from me at nearly the same time?

Immediately I knew this had to be an act of God.

The young driver of the other car, whom I assumed was in his late teens, got out and assessed his situation, then proceeded to take out his spare tire, jack, and tools. I rolled back under my vehicle to try getting the spare tire loose from the undercarriage, asking myself why I gave up my brand new car that had road service for free for this old pickup truck. It cost me 1,000 dollars cash and was in perfect condition – that’s why.

Ten minutes later, I looked over, and the young man wearing bedroom slippers over white socks and sporting dreadlocks was having trouble getting his jack under his mother’s car. I had to help him. So, I took my tools over to help, knowing that most young men these days know nothing about cars or how to even change a tire.

By the time I arrived, he was practically in tears; “I’m going to be late for my doctor’s appointment,” he stammered.

We had to lift the body along with frame and hub, which was still on the ground. The kid was about as weak as a wet noodle. Poor soul.

So I put my back to the car’s body, wrapped my two hands around the fender, and hoisted the car up from the pavement for him to slip the jack up under the car. I thought, “Man, I’m glad I work out at the gym on a regular basis!”

We got her done, but not before I gave him one of my little red Bibles and sent him on his way.

Just then, a Road Ranger came pulling up, and I told him about my plight of not being able to get the spare tire. He knew exactly why. It required a special tool to dislodge, and he just happened to have it in his truck. He took over from there, and before he left, I gave him one of my little red Bibles with the plan of salvation in it and a ten spot for lunch.

It was a scorcher again today in South Florida. Mary, a diminutive girl as white as a sheet of paper and still in her teens, was walking alongside the road. She was carrying her belongings in a bag. Luckily, she was wearing a pink cap on her blond head to keep the sun at bay.

I was going home from the market, and knowing that it was a long way to the next intersection, I stopped to give her a ride. She ran to my pickup after I stopped and hopped right in.

“Boy, am I glad you stopped!” She chirped. “I was begging God to send someone to rescue me from the heat.”

“Well, I guess I’m the answer to your prayer.”

“No one would stop.”

“Where are you headed?” I asked.

“Up to the Circle K; I just got out of jail,” she said nonchalantly.

I asked, “What did you do to get yourself in jail?”

“I stole a bike; it’s hard to get around without a car. My grandma died last week, and I’m on the street without money and a place to stay. That’s why I’m going to a friend’s house.”

A lot of thoughts crossed my mind. I knew God had sent me to rescue the girl, but most of all, I thought she should hear the Gospel.

“Do you know the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I asked.

“Do you mean Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?”


“Well, sort of…. There’s the Circle K.” I turned in and stopped.

She stayed in the vehicle. “I want to hear what you have to say,” she implored.

“Better yet, I want to pray for you to understand what you know about the Gospel – what’s your name?”

“Mary, like my grandmother.”

I bowed my head, and she followed suit. “Dear Father, Mary needs your help in understanding the gospel… etc.” I made it short and sweet.

I gave her my card and the little red Bible with the salvation message in it. “Here, you may need some lunch money.” And I gave her enough money for a good lunch, figuring that if I gave her too much, she might spend it on foolishness. And so I gave the rest over to God to take care of.


Jim Towers

You can write me at or visit me at for “Open Letters” to the movie stars I’ve worked with in the past – which is also on my newly restructured website (I’m also on YouTube now and on Twitter.)