True story about the newcomer who went to his first rummage sale in Canada, where he bought a small television stand and couldn't believe the price. Subsequently, after being told that he could get things for nothing at one of the local churches, it was the revelation of a life time. From the working title, "Let Me Be Canadian" by Dalbert Sanchez



DID YOU KNOW that in Canada during the summer months there are people, who drive around on a pickup truck on Saturdays, looking for garage sales? These are great for second-hand items that look brand new—and tax-free. Do you know where and when to get best stuff? At the end of the school year when students move back home.

They empty their rooms and throw out televisions, computers, radios, beds, mattresses, couches and so on. Who fund these? The quality of “awesome stuff” is what surprised Tapia Mendoza after he stopped at a garage sale, and saw an aluminum television stand he really liked. It was his first time in a garage sale. The stand was in mint condition.  

“How much is this?” he asked. “One-fifty,” said the person having the sale. “ONE-FIFTY!” he shouted. He was shocked to hear that something used cost “one-fifty,” but one-fifty what?  “Wow! Calm down, man; if you don’t have one-dollar and fifty cents, just give me one-dollar for it.” It was then Tapia realized the stand was $1.50 and not $150, as he thought. He was so excited that he ran, and showed it to a friend; he couldn’t believe that he’d just paid $1 for a television stand.   “This is incredible! Canada is incredible! I wish it was the same in Chile; look what I got for only $1,” he told a friend. “That’s nothing, if you go to a rummage sale at one of the local churches, you get things for nothing.”

Why tell him this? It was Tapia’s first year in Canada, so when October came it felt like January. He had no coat and the temperature started dipping down to unacceptable degrees for him. He needed something thick enough to ease him into the nastier months. Where did Tapia go?

On Sunday, he got up early and went to Church—he didn’t go to pray for a better weather. As soon as he walked into the House of God, he started looking around and spotted the nicest fit: A jacket with the most beautiful scarf wrapped around the collar.

He walked up to the closet, put the jacket on, put the scarf around his neck and started heading out. The coat didn’t come with gloves, so before exiting the building, Tapia put his hands in the pockets to keep them warm. Oops! He felt something.

“What is it?” he asked quietly―even though he was in a safe place, he didn’t want to wake-up the bad spirits. As he pulled what he found out of the pocket, he realized it was a wallet belonging to a churchgoer. The coat was not for sale and not even “for nothing,” as his friend said. Tapia was robbing one of God’s disciples.

He quickly did the sign of the cross, removed the jacket and put it back in the closet. He took off running so fast, they could have easily given him a ticket for speeding on foot.

“I was looking for my first rummage sale, where I could get a coat for nothing―forgive me Father for I almost sinned,” he said out of breath, and after running three blocks west of the church. 

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