The Old Man and the Lincoln

For the past few days, my old life lesson of the Old Man and the Lincoln keeps coming to mind.  It is the embarrassing tale of my lack of character under pressure.

I know what you are thinking: What?!  Lloyd, you're the guy always preaching about the importance of electing political candidates of character!  You are correct.  I am a flawed human being, which is why I needed Jesus as my savior.

This incident happened almost twenty years ago.  Yes, I was a Christian.

Succinctly, I quit my job at a TV station to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.  Mary and I fell upon extremely challenging financial times.  Since we were in need of a car and broke financially, some friends sold us their old Lincoln, cheap.  They disclosed that the car had an oil leak that could be easily fixed.

Well, even after a major automotive chain's several attempts, the stubborn leak continued.  We went back and forth with the auto repair shop, including threatening to take them to small claims court.

Meanwhile, I got the phone call of my dreams.  An entertainment company based in Orlando caught wind of me and offered me a job.  We would have to sell our home in Maryland and relocate to Florida.

Mary and I concluded that the Lincoln would never make the 1,200-mile trip, so we should sell it.  An elderly gentleman answered our ad, and we agreed to meet at a fast food restaurant.

Folks, we were desperate for money and to dump the problematic car.  We are an interracial couple, and the old man was white.  I did not know his feelings about race and did not want to risk anything blowing the deal.  So I thought it best that Mary deliver the car, and I would follow in our other extremely old car.  I read somewhere that men like women wearing bright colors.  My beautiful blue-eyed blonde wife went to meet our prospective buyer wearing a bright red dress.

I watched the old man look over our Lincoln, then get into his car and drive off.  Mary followed in the Lincoln.  I followed, assuming they were headed to his home, which was close by, to make the cash and title exchange.  He pulled into his pristine driveway.

This was before cell phones, so I tried to communicate with Mary telepathically: “Don't park in his driveway!  Don't park in his driveway!”  She parked in his driveway.

Mary stayed in the old man's home so long that I began to worry.  Finally, she hopped in the car with me, waving $3,000 in cash.  We cheerfully high-fived each other.  Mary shared that he was a wonderful man who really liked her.  Obviously lonely, he showed her a few family albums while sharing happy memories.  His wife, who was the love of his life, was in a nursing home.  He planned to use the Lincoln for his daily trips to visit her.

We lived about an hour or so away from the old man.  Upon our arrival home, our phone was ringing off the hook.  It was the old man.  “Mr. Marcus, that car is leaking oil sump-in fierce!  Can I get my money back?”

Folks, his call slapped me back to reality.  Suddenly, I was overcome with overwhelming shame.  What the heck was I thinking?  This was not who we are, nor how we were raised.  I felt like I had sold my character and soul for a mere $3,000.  I replied, “Yes, sir, of course we will return your money.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer said that when you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out, because that is what's inside.  When life (financial pressure) squeezed me, deceit and self-centeredness came out.

Upon hanging up the phone, I could not stand the sight of the old man's money.  I could not wait to return it.  He thanked us.  We asked God's forgiveness.

Happy Easter, folks.  Jesus gave His life to save sinners like me and you.  This song of mine feels appropriate.