The Christmas Angel - Randy

Gabriel was on assignment again. This one was going to be different from the others. Of all places, he was going to an orphanage. A place where every child needed help.

He couldn’t get the previous conversation off of his mind.

“Gabriel,” spoke the Father, “I need you to go to an orphanage.

“An orphanage, Father? Every child there needs help,” he had asked, “what am I supposed to do there?”

“Your assignment is a young boy named Randy Butler,” the Father answered, “you will know what to do.”

Gabriel walked up the steps into the orphanage lobby carrying the classified ads section of the local newspaper. He had found the jobs section. In it he saw that there was a janitor position available at the orphanage. He was here to apply, figuring it would be his best chance to see Randy.

Finding the receptionist at the front desk, he got her attention.

“Has the janitor position been filled?” he asked, fully knowing that it hadn’t.

"No, it hasn’t,” she answered while sizing him up.

“Who do I need to talk to,” he asked.

“Mr. Weatherly. He’s our superintendent. He does all the hiring. I can page him if you want.”

“Please,” he smiled.

She paged, and a few minutes later a man came to the front desk.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

“I’m interested in the janitor position,” answered Gabriel.

“Come into my office so that we can talk.”

Gabriel followed him into an office. He sat down and waited.

“Have you had any experience?” he asked.

“I’ve been cleaning up messes for as long as I can remember,” answered Gabriel.

Which was true. For hundreds of years, he had cleaned up people’s mistakes.

“What’s your name?”

“My name is Gabriel,” he answered.

Gabriel? Gabriel what?”

“Gabriel Constantius Floronius Junicus Qurollonia.”

The man stared at him.

“I can’t put all of that on an employment application. Let’s go with Gabriel,” he said.

“Sounds all right to me,” Gabriel smiled.

“Where do you live?”

“Here and there, I tend to travel a lot.”

We have a small room behind the supply room. It has a bed. Are you interested?”

Gabriel nodded his head yes.

“Your Social Security number?”


“Are you kidding me? Nine numbers all the same? How did you manage that?”

“Lucky, I guess,” answered Gabriel.

“Gabriel, this is strange. This position has been available for three months. You are the first person to apply. Normally it would be filled within a week.”

Gabriel had a good idea why it hadn’t been filled. The Father had something to do with it. Of this, he was quite certain.

“I guess I got here at the right time,” he said.

“When can you start?”

“Right now if that’s alright with you.”

“You’re hired.”

Gabriel nodded his thank you and left the office. He found a small supply room down the hall, entered it, and closed the door behind him.

“Father, I’m here. I had to be creative about a Social Security number. All I could think of was the number seven.”

“Gabriel, it is all right. You know the number seven is special to me.”

Relieved, Gabriel asked, “Where will I find Randy?”

“His dorm room is on the top floor. He isn’t there. Right now he is in detention. He’s locked up in the basement.”

“Basement! What did he do?”

“Talk to him. He will tell you.”

“Yes, Father, as you wish.”

Gabriel found a mop and mop bucket and went downstairs. Each floor had a desk and an employee on duty. Gabriel went to the desk and introduced himself.

“Hi, My name is Gabriel. I was just hired as the new janitor. Your name?”

“Bill Morray. Come on, let me show you around.”

That would be nice. Thank you.”

“Here is our main supply room. You’ll find everything you need. Your room is through that door over there,” said Bill.

As they walked Gabriel asked a question.

“What are the rooms with the small windows and openings?”

“These are the detention rooms.”

“Are any of them occupied?” asked Gabriel.

“Yes, that one there,” Bill pointed, “the biggest troublemaker we have is in there. Name’s Randy Butler.”

“Why is he in there?”

“He is always trying to run away. He succeeded once. Sheriff found him two counties over.”

“Can you tell me anything about the boy?” asked Gabriel.

“He’s been in and out of several foster homes. They pick him up and bring him right back. No one can handle him,” came the answer.

“His parents?”

“Deceased. They were in a bad accident on the freeway. He was thrown from the car. Poor kid watched his parents burn to death. He pretty much keeps to himself. I figure what he saw scarred him for life. Now he’s mad at the world.”

“I imagine I would be too if I was in his shoes.”

“Why do you want to know?”

“Just curious.”

Later that night he stood in front of Randy’s room. The employee at the desk had gone to the restroom and this was his opportunity.

“Father, I’m here,” said Gabriel, “what do I do?”

“Go to him.”

“The door’s locked.”

“Go to him.”

Gabriel grabbed the door knob and it turned in his hand. He opened the door and stepped inside. He could see Randy’s sleeping form on the cot. Listening to the boy’s rhythmic breathing, he bent over and studied the boy.

“He misses his parents. That is all that is wrong with him,” whispered the Father.

“What would you have me do?”

“Tomorrow it will happen. I am opening doors as we speak. I need you to visit someone tonight.”

“Yes, Father, as you wish.”

Later he visited the Jarrett’s house. Brent and Susan were their names. He stood in the hallway outside their bedroom and listened to their conversation.

“Well, honey, Christmas is almost here. What would you like to have for Christmas?” asked Brent.

“You know what I want. It’s what I’ve always wanted,” she answered.

“I know you want children. I do too. I’m sorry that we can’t have any. You know that Doctor Wankley told us it wouldn’t happen because of me. He said that I was sterile,” he spoke softly while holding Susan in his arms.

“I know, but it doesn’t keep me from wanting kids,” she answered.

“If we could have a child what would you want? Boy or girl?”

“As long as it’s healthy I don’t care,” she answered.

After a few minutes, the conversation ceased and Gabriel could hear heavy breathing. He entered their bedroom and whispered in their ears.

The following morning Gabriel went into the superintendent’s office. Cornering Mr. Weatherly, he asked a question.

“Christmas is right around the corner. I saw boxes of decorations in the supply room. Is it alright if I put them up?”

“I suppose so. It is usually pretty low-key here at Christmas. It usually brings back memories that the children want to forget,” answered Mr. Weatherly.

“Let’s give it a shot. Can I get some help from the kids? They might enjoy it.”

“Sure, I’ll round up some boys.”

“How about Randy Butler?” asked Gabriel.

“I don’t know about that. He’s got a chip on his shoulder,” answered Mr. Weatherly.

“Every kid deserves a chance,” said Gabriel, “how about it?”

“Ok, but it’s your responsibility,” he warned.

“I’ll go get him. Do I need a pass from you?” asked Gabriel.

“No, I’ll call down there and let them know you’re coming.”


Randy was standing by the desk when Gabriel got there.

“Who are you?” he asked, “what do you want?

“Name’s Gabriel. I’m the new janitor. “I’m putting up Christmas decorations. I could use some help. Are you game?”

“I guess. Anything to get me out of that cell.”

They went to the supply room, found a tree, and carried it upstairs to the main floor. While putting it together Gabriel started asking questions.

“Randy, tell me about yourself. Why are you here? Parents? How long have you been here?” asked Gabriel.

“Why do you want to know?” he answered.

“Just curious, that’s all,” answered Gabriel.

“I’ve been in and out of here for seven years. I got here when I was five. The court put me here after the accident,” he said with tears in his eyes.

“Accident? What happened?” asked Gabriel.

He already knew all of the details. He wanted to hear it from Randy.

“It was Christmas morning. We were on the way to Grandma’s house. The freeway was covered with black ice. A semi lost control and hit us and I was thrown from the car. I remember the fire trucks and police cars,” offered Randy.

“Your parents?”

Randy got really quiet. Gabriel could see tears streaming down his face. He knew he needed to wait.

Sniffling, Randy looked up at him and softly spoke, They died. The car caught on fire and they couldn’t get out. I can still hear their screams in my head.”

“I’m so sorry,” offered Gabriel.

“I miss them so bad I ache inside. I loved Mom and Dad. I was only five, but I can still remember them taking me to the Zoo. That summer we went to the beach. It was a blast. We built a huge sand castle. I miss that,” he said with a faraway look on his face.

“Then what happened?”

“I came here. Grandma couldn’t take care of me. None of my relatives wanted me. Said it was too much trouble.”

“Too much trouble? Why is that?” asked Gabriel.

“I don’t know. At five years old I didn’t understand it. I’ve wised up since then,” said Randy.

“What happened?”

“Foster homes. I hate them. All I am is a dollar sign to them. My experiences with them weren’t good. I didn’t want to be there and they made sure I was unhappy. The longest stay I had at one was five days. They brought me back as fast as they could,” said Randy.

“Would you be willing to try again?”

“No way!” he answered.

“What if someone wanted to adopt you?” asked Gabriel.

“I don’t know. I used to dream about it, having a mom and dad again. I guess it would be ok. I wonder, would they love me. I can still remember Mom wrapping me up in her arms. She would kiss my forehead, then my nose, and then my cheeks,” he sobbed, “I miss that. I miss the feeling of being wanted.”

Gabriel knelt down and took the boy in his arms. While Randy cried on his shoulder he silently spoke to the Father.

“Father, I don’t know what you are planning. You said it would happen today. Please help Randy.”

Not receiving an answer, Gabriel changed the subject.

“Randy, what would you like for Christmas?”

“It’s a secret. It’s something I have wanted for a long time,” he answered.

Gabriel knew what it was. It was obvious.

“Maybe you’ll get it this Christmas,” Gabriel offered.

“I don’t know. I never get what I want,” replied Randy, “I’ve just about given up on it.”

They finished decorating by noontime. A bell rang and Randy went to lunch. Gabriel could sense that something was going to happen. He knew that the Father was up to something. There had to be or he wouldn’t be here.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a young couple come through the front door. They stopped at the front desk and were directed to Mr. Weatherly’s office.

“This must be it,” Gabriel thought as he neared the office. He noticed that the door was ajar and he could hear the conversation.

“Hello, we’re the Jarretts. I’m Brent and this is my wife, Susan.”

“Nice to meet you. What can I do for you?”

“Mr. Weatherly, we are interested in adopting a child. We can’t have children and we have always wanted a child,” said Brent.

“I see,” replied the superintendent, “it is a big step you are considering.”

“We know that. Mr. Weatherly, we both grew up in dysfunctional homes. Neither of us has very happy memories of our childhood. I am sure that you have children here that have experienced the same thing,” said Susan.

“The orphanage is full of children like that,” he replied.

“We feel we have a lot to offer. I have a good job, we live in a large home in a good neighborhood, attend church, and do our best to be good members of our community. Susan is an excellent housekeeper and would be a great mother,” offered Brent.

“Do you want a boy or a girl?”

“We’ve thought long and hard on that. Susan is leaning towards a girl, I want a boy,” said Brent.

“Have you made a decision?”

“It’s funny. Up until last night we hadn’t. When we got up this morning we looked at each other and knew. We want a boy.”

“What age group?”

“Ten or so, we want a boy we can do things with like other families.”

“I’ll have to do background checks on both of you,” said the superintendent, “ and there is paperwork to be filled out.”

“Will this take very long? We would like to adopt before Christmas,” asked Susan.

“That is a tall order,” replied Mr. Weatherly, “normally it takes at least six months, and it could take up to a year.”

“We were wanting it done by Christmas,” said Brent as the couple stood to leave.

“I’m sorry,” he replied, “do you still want to proceed?”

“I don’t know. We’ll have to talk about it and get back to you,” said Susan.

Gabriel was dismayed. What about Randy?

“Father, I don’t understand. You said it would happen today.”

“Patience, Gabriel, patience,” came the answer, “you know what you must do.”

That night he whispered into Mr. Weatherly’s ear, a judge's ear, and everybody else that would be involved.

The next morning Mr. Weatherly called the Jarretts.

“Would you please come back this afternoon?. Something miraculous has happened.”

That afternoon they walked into his office.

“In all of my years doing this I have never seen this happen. Strings have been pulled, allowances made, and favors called in. A certain judge was most cooperative. You have been approved,” he smiled.

“Are you serious?” shouted Susan.

“I’ve never been more serious in my life,” he answered.

“Can we see the boy's portfolios?” asked Brent.

“Yes, but I believe there is no need for that. I have the name of a boy that would be a perfect fit for you.”


“Really! His name is Randy Butler. He is 12 years old. He has had a hard time of it. His parents were killed in a bad accident,” Mr. Weatherly answered.

“Can we meet him?”

“He is helping our janitor decorate for Christmas. I believe they are in the cafeteria. Let’s find them.”

Gabriel saw them coming and motioned for Randy.

“Randy, I know what you want for Christmas. Look behind you.”

Randy stared at him, turned, and began crying.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. I know by higher authority that they will love you with all their heart. Merry Christmas.”

Later Gabriel spoke to the Father.

“That was nice. You blessed Randy and the Jarretts. Again you work in mysterious ways.”

“They will have a wonderful Christmas together,” came the reply, “now, I have another assignment for you.”

“Yes, Father, as you wish.”

December 20, 2021