Tim and I drove to Kansas City International Airport earlier this afternoon to return the rental car that I have been using. We had actually rented the car at another location, but it was closed on Saturdays, forcing the long drive to the airport to make the return. The woman in the parking lot who accepted the car for Hertz then directed us inside to complete paperwork.
The lady at the counter who finalized our rental car business was wearing a Kansas City Chiefs tee-shirt and a name tag that said "Karen." As she was processing us, I happened to note that she had a paperback copy of a novel called The Shack sitting in her work area. Being someone who enjoys reading and is always looking for the next good book to get into, I asked her how she liked it.
And at that point the paperwork stopped.
"Let me tell you about this book," she said. That copy of The Shack had been lying around the work area there at Hertz for sometime, and she had always thought about reading it - but hadn't gotten to it yet. Then earlier today she had a customer who said he was in town for a book-signing. It turns out, as these things sometime do, that he was William Paul Young, the author of The Shack. She dug out the copy that had been drifting around her work area for quite some time, and he inscribed it: "Karen, Grace sings your name. You matter." And signed his name.
The author told Karen that it was his first published novel and that he had not intended to be an author. He had written it to entertain some family members and it sort of developed a life of its own. He said his book is now in print in forty-two languages.
Not to be outdone by a mere novelist, I introduced her to my son, the screenwriter. She wrote down Tim's name and the title of his movie that will be released next March. Now Karen has two literary encounters to tell her friends about - and they both occurred on the same day at the Hertz counter!