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RELIGION: Explosion in the Parking Lot

by By Gene Linzey | August 23, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

One hot summer day in 1993, I was walking across the parking lot at the scientific laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The temperature was 95 degrees, the asphalt was near 140 degrees, and the interior of cars with windows up was at least 120. I was an electro-mechanical technician at the lab.

Suddenly, I was jolted by an explosion that sounded like a 12-gage shotgun being fired nearby.

I didn't run or hide. I froze and scanned my surroundings to find out what had happened. No other noise, not even a rustling of the wind on that hot and sultry day.

Then I saw a man scratching his head. He was standing by his car that had no back window. I walked over to him. I didn't know him.

"Good afternoon, sir. What happened?"

The gentleman said, "All I did was open the door and remove the reflector from the back window, and it shattered."

I surveyed the parking area and the interior of the car. I then noticed the ring on his hand.

"The window temperature was probably 125 degrees, your ring probably touched the window, and the window shattered due to thermal shock. Stand by, and I'll be right back."

I brought a shop vacuum from my area and cleaned up his car and the surrounding parking lot, then taped the perimeter of the window with duct tape to prevent glass from falling out.

"That'll take care of it until you can get the window replaced ...." but I was interrupted.

"Thank you, but what do I owe you?"

"You owe me nothing. We both are lab employees, I'm paid by the hour, you obviously need to get to a meeting, and I just wanted to help."

"What will John say?"

I didn't know this man and didn't realize that he knew me or my boss.

"John would want me to help. I'll tell him what happened, and everything will be fine. Have as good a day as you can, sir."

I told John and he was pleased about it. He asked me who the man was, but I didn't know.

Three months later, John informed me that our scientific project had been completed. He would relocate to another area, and I would be reassigned to another project within the month. When other project managers learned that I was available, five came (one at a time) and asked me to work for them. I told each one that I'd pray about it.

A week later, another man came to my shop.

"Good afternoon, Gene. I know that your project has been completed. What are your plans?"

"I've received five requests, but I haven't decided yet."

"I'd like to complicate your decision by giving you a sixth offer."

"What is it, and who are you?"

"Do you remember the Toyota with the blown-out rear window that you cleaned up several months ago?"


"I'm the man you helped, and I've never forgotten your proactiveness and your kindness. I'm your new Group Leader, and I'd like to give you a promotion. I need a group operations officer who instinctively knows what to do and is quick to do it. Would you be willing to work for me?"

I leaned my head back and laughed. "No kidding?"

"No kidding. I need someone just like you to help me run this group of 110 scientists, technicians, and administrators. What do you say?"

"I'll pray about it."

The man – my new group leader – left my shop and I sat down ... and laughed. I could hardly believe it. I can get promoted just for helping someone. I told Carol about it when I got home.

"It'll be a tough decision, Precious. I like the five guys who offered me a job, and it'll be easy to fit right in with any of them. But I don't know the group leader."

"Well, if you ask me, it should be an easy decision. You always like a new challenge. And, let's face it, if the top boss likes you and offers you a promotion, wouldn't that be an answer to prayer?"

We had been married 27 years at the time, and she knew me like the back of her hand. She also knew how God leads us.

Two days later I accepted the group leader's offer, and in a month my life changed: from project electro-mechanical technician to group management.

All because I voluntarily responded to an explosion in the parking lot.

S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor, and conference speaker. Send comments and questions to [email protected].

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