I'd guess the man was in his seventies. He was looking over the Kitchenaid mixers when I asked how he was doing today.
"Fine, just fine. Do you know Jesus?"
Blink. "Not personally." Honestly, I didn't mean to be such a smartass. I blame my parents.
"You know, you really should. Christmas is coming! Bless you, miss," he said.
That time I managed to swallow the sass ("Is he on Facebook yet?"). But it didn't end there. Thirty minutes later the man returns, creeping up on me and making me jump.
"I was walking through the mall and kept thinking I had something to give you. I looked all over and then God told me to put my hand in my left pocket and there it was!" He presented a business card that read "JESUS: He is coming to take me to Heaven. I want YOU to come with me!"
What could I do? I smiled and said thank you. Four years ago this would have driven me nuts. At that point I was very much The Heretic among my fellow Sunday school students. The instructors would make a statement about something controversial and then directly ask me, "Lisa, what do you think?" I grew pretty damn hostile as a result.
Though I'm still a smartass, I've mellowed a bit. The petition at church yesterday was different - it was mean-spirited and exclusionary. The man was doing something that he felt would truly benefit me. At one point I might have been immature enough to make fun of him; and sure, it could be construed as arrogant and assuming. But I think he really wanted me to find whatever happiness he had, and even if I disagree, I can't mock him for that.