“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,” Matthew 25:35 (NIV)
Traveling alone in a foreign country brings new and interesting experiences. I think I was more open to communicating with strangers and taking more risks when I was alone. In England, I had visited the town of Spoke on Trent – the home of Spode china. I arrived at the train station and began to look for places to stay the night.
I visited the Spode factory and then began walking to some of the areas recommended at the train station. This led me to a “dicey” area of town and to some office buildings. I went into the offices and asked a lady where there were places to stay near here. She gave me directions and off I went. Me and my trusty red backpack and a small roller suitcase.
After walking about 30 minutes, a car came and stopped near me. It was the lady from the office. She said, “It is not safe for you to stay in these areas. I will give you a ride to a better area of town.” I thanked her, and said, “I will be fine.” She said, “no you won’t” in that lovely British accent.
We talked about my travels while she drove me to the outskirts of town to another area of Bed and Breakfasts. Then she totally surprised me. She said, “Come home with me for the night. I live out in the country, about 30 minutes away. My brother-in-law is coming for supper and my husband is cooking.” I could not believe this woman was inviting a perfect stranger to her home. I could not believe I accepted. She lived in a rural area with sheep grazing in the fields nearby, a large red brick home, and a totally isolated part of England.
I had the best roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for dinner and delightful conversation, after her husband and brother-in-law recovered from the shock of a stranger appearing at their table. The guest room was on the third floor of the house situated under the eaves and was beautifully decorated. The next morning she drove me back into Stoke-On-Trent. I asked her if she would take payment for the night’s stay, supper and breakfast. She refused and said, “Someday, you will meet a stranger and you must invite them into your home. That is payment enough.”
When have you shown hospitality to strangers? Have you ever received the hospitality of strangers?