Apparently this is a true story. You can decide for yourself whether it is or not. I can’t remember it exactly so I have changed a few details and I have effectively rewritten it, but in essence it is the same.
It is set in modern day Iran.
The Coach Trip
One day a young man had to travel from his home town to another city which was quite far away. He didn’t have much money so he travelled by coach, a journey that he knew would take several hours. Taking with him only a small bag that contained nothing except for a single change of clothing; he boarded the coach, gave his ticket to the driver and sat down on the only spare seat available which was next to a strange looking old man with snowy white hair and a beard.
The coach set off on its long journey and after a short while, the old man opened his bag pulled out some food and started to eat. Seeing that the younger man had no food he offered him some. The young man took the food and thanked him. The old man gave him some more food and told him to put it in his bag for later.
The two of them ate and struck up a conversation. The old man told the young man that he was a Christian, a very unusual thing to be in Iran. The young man had never met a Christian before and being a devout Muslim, he was astonished to find a Christian behaving with such generosity as he had been brought up to believe that Christians were evil. However, being fairly broad-minded and kind-hearted himself, he was happy to continue the conversation.
The young man asked the old man what it was like to be a Christian in Iran, and speaking in a hushed voice, the old man told him how difficult it was and how he had to be very careful where and when he prayed and who he talked to.
The young man asked him to tell him about Jesus, so the old man did. He explained how Jesus had died on the cross and how he was resurrected to pay for all sins so that any man would receive the gift of salvation if only he accepted it.
Knowing that this was a dangerous conversation to have and fearing that other passengers may overhear, the young man lowered his voice and asked the old man if he too could receive this gift of salvation, even though he was a Muslim. Replying in the affirmative, the old man told him that Jesus’ gift of salvation was available to anybody who asked for it.
The conversation continued with the young man asking more and more questions as time went on. The old man reached into his bag and pulled out a book, and asked him if he would like to read his only copy of the Bible so that he could find out more for himself. Unsure whether this was a wise thing to do or not, the young man decided to decline the offer. But the old man insisted, telling him that he could keep the book, advising him to put it in his bag and read it later. The young man, after carefully looking around to see if anybody was watching, duly obliged and placed the Bible inside his bag.
Eventually the coach came to a stop and some people got off and more people started to get on. The old man told the young man that this was his stop and that he had to disembark. The young man helped him with his heavy bag and bade him farewell.
The coach pulled away and continued its journey. Now sitting alone, the young man couldn’t stop thinking about what the old man had told him. After pondering for some time, he decided that he would like to meet the old man again, but unfortunately they had parted without exchanging any personal details. He wondered if the driver knew anything, or had any information about the identity of his acquaintance as sometimes tickets had names on them if they had been booked in advance.
When he arrived at his destination he rose from his seat and walked down the aisle along with the other passengers. When he reached the driver, he asked him if he knew anything about the old man he had been sat next to.
The driver told him that there had been no old man and that he had been sat by himself for the entire journey. Reminding the driver that this was not the case and that an old man with snowy white hair had departed a few stops earlier, the young man once again asked if he knew anything about him.
The driver assured him, that he had been alone throughout the journey and had spent most of the time sleeping. One of the passengers overheard the conversation, started laughing and confirmed that the young man had indeed been sitting alone the entire time and slept through nearly all of it.
Puzzled, the young man thanked the driver for his help and left the coach. Perhaps it had all been a dream, he told himself. He slung his bag over his shoulder and started to walk away, but noticing that the bag felt heavier than usual and was more bulky in shape, he decided to take a look inside.
Inside the bag he discovered some food, and underneath it was a copy of the Holy Bible.