I know that in the traditional Christmas nativity play there is an angel named Gabriel but today I met one named Gareth. He’s a real angel who walks around the town dressed as a traffic warden.
This gentle man (in the true sense of the word) has been at the heart of many ripples in Northampton that has changed people’s lives. I met the Angel Gareth when I was sitting in my car waiting for the time to pass so I could go and meet my daughter. I was supposed to have met her before but she was late as she was in town with her friends and they forgot the appointed time. I was not pleased and decided to sit in the car to regain my focus and think how to use my time wisely. I just received a beautiful text full of love and promise and I was about to reply, then I looked up.
This is when Gareth appeared.
There was no fluttering of wings, just the rustle of protective biking gear. He wandered around the cars near me and took down registration numbers. I wound down my window. A brief exchange about me being parked legally and therefore not deserving of his attention or a ticket ensued during which time his eyes sparkled from beneath his helmet. He almost had a halo of peace and goodwill around him.
Some people you can just talk to as if you’ve known them forever. Gareth is one such person.
There was a reason why I didn’t meet up with my son at the appointed time, I was supposed to meet with this angel. He told me about how he started delivering Easter eggs to children’s homes over 10 years ago because of his desire to share happiness with others, and this random act of kindness led to over a decade of service to children (and others) throughout the county.
Sometimes we never know just how many lives our seemingly simple acts of generosity can touch, sometimes it’s better that we don’t know.
The angel Gareth told me one incident (among many that I’m sure he has in his memory) of a young man who didn’t understand why someone like him would give up his time helping other strangers. The young man rebelled against ... everything. But something in him remembered this angel, on a motorbike, delivering Easter eggs. Now, several years later, the young man is also an angel on wheels performing random acts of kindness to others.
Gareth does not just do these kind acts at Christmas, he is an all-year-around angel who helps others where and when he can.
I think that everyone should take a leaf from the Angel Gareth’s book and extend the season of goodwill to ... every day.