There’s nothing hotter than summer in Atlanta, especially if you can’t afford an air conditioner. My wife, Rebekah, and I couldn’t that year, and living on the third floor of an old building, the heat seemed to turn our apartment into an oven.
“Let’s get out of here,” Rebekah said one scorching Friday afternoon. “Why don’t we go down to the mall and enjoy their air conditioning?”
So that’s what we did. We cooled off sipping iced tea before ambling back. Maybe it was the heat, but when we got home we realized we’d left our keys inside. We went to the building manager’s office. “Gone Till Monday,” read a sign on the door.
We’d passed a church a block away where some painters were working, their truck parked out on the street. “Maybe they’ll let us borrow their ladder and we can climb through a window,” Rebekah said.
We walked over and found two men in spotless white overalls and caps putting the finishing touches on the church eaves. Shouting up to them, we explained our dilemma. “Take that forty-footer on the truck.”
Rebekah and I carried the ladder home, and it reached the bathroom window perfectly. I found our keys, then we returned the ladder to the painters, who were still hard at work.
Monday morning, we walked over to the church office to get an address so we could send the painters a thank-you card.
“Painters?” the church secretary asked. “The church needs painting, but we don’t have anything like that planned for this year.”
Baffled, we led the secretary outside. There wasn’t a trace. The paint was peeling off the eaves.
“Their truck was right here,” I insisted. “They wore white overalls.”
“Painters in white overalls?” The church secretary said, looking at us strangely. “Are you sure? No one like that has been around here at all.”