Carl Mays: God has blessed America – and me

May. 15, 2014 @ 09:51 PM

I’m writing this column in Malvern, Ark., sitting in a guest room at a Holiday Inn Express, in which, according to all of those TV commercials, I should grow much smarter. I’m on the first leg of a car trip of 932 miles, give or take a few miles (according to the number of rest stops I have to make along the way).

Today, I had a scare, which in the end grew into a blessing from God, and from Robbins Toyota in Nash, Texas, on the outskirts of Texarkana.

Driving along on I-30, my car’s “check engine” light popped on. That’s never good news, and especially when you’ve got about 692 miles (or something like that) to go on a 932-mile road trip. But about five miles after the caution light caught my attention, a large billboard on the side of the road captured it.

The billboard simply read in big letters: “GOD BLESSED AMERICA.” A few miles beyond that sign was another that read: “Robbins Toyota, 32 miles.”

I thought, “Considering that God has certainly blessed America, I feel confident he will bless me to make it 32 miles so that a professional mechanic can take a look at things,” because I certainly don’t know anything about car engines, except that they’re the things that make a car run.

Robbins was right off the Interstate. I mean right off. Signs again pointed to exactly where to turn and the large dealership sign was easy to see from I-30. Hallelujah! I pulled in, explained the problem and told them about being on the initial day of a long trip. (No way I’m going to drive over 15 or more hours – again, according to nature and number of rest stops – in one day.) I told them I had a hotel reservation in Malvern. I think Malvern is about 130 miles or so from Robbins.

They got my car in, had a mechanic who had been working there for about 13 years examine it, gave me coffee, a bottle of water, and a room in which to rest (one of those rest stops, eh). Within less than 45 minutes, they called me to the desk and told me the mechanic had checked it. He reported first of all that the car appeared to be safe to drive without any damage, and the mechanic had clicked off the “check engine” notice, but it might come on again.

He went on to say he wasn’t sure exactly what the problem is, but it deals with the transmission.

He said a complete diagnosis would take about three hours, and he recommended when I arrived at my destination that I should take it in for an inspection. He said that during the meantime I would get reduced gas mileage.

Not the greatest news in the world, but under the circumstances it was fantastic news. So, here I am in Malvern – after stopping in Hope, Ark. (yes, the hometown of Bill Clinton), to eat what I call breakfast/dinner at a Waffle House. I’ve always enjoyed their eggs ‘n cheese, bacon, hash browns, raisin toast, orange juice and coffee meals.

And here’s the kicker to this whole story: Robbins Toyota didn’t charge me anything for looking at my car. They said that since they didn’t give me a specific diagnosis, there would no charge.

Of course that won’t be the case when I take it somewhere later to get it checked, but I can bask in the sunshine for now and appreciate those two billboards on I-30 – and appreciate being blessed by God and Robbins.

© 2014 by Carl Mays, National Speakers Association Hall of Fame member and author of over a dozen books. Email or visit