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The Pay Machine

Updated on December 6, 2013
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Returning to the car park after a stint playing carols for The Salvation Army in a local shopping centre, I put my ticket in the Pay Machine. Expecting to see how much to pay, imagine my surprise when a female voice said “How do you become a member?”

I looked round to see if there was someone in the queue behind me, but there was no one.

“Pardon?”, I said and The Machine (for it was now clear that was where the voice was coming from), said “How do you become a member of The Salvation Army?”

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The wonders of new technology

Now I know that new technology has come on apace and while I could understand the machine being programmed to say “Have a nice day” or “That will be £2.50 please”, this was a bit advanced.

The Machine went on to explain that its grandmother had been involved with The Salvation Army and it thought that it would be good to carry on the family tradition. Remembering that I was talking to a piece of metal, I had to stop myself asking if the grandmother had been a cornet or a trombone. But that wouldn’t have been very gracious, for even machines have feelings too, don’t they?

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An unnerving experience

Anyway of course it was the operator talking who could see my uniform, presumably via a CCTV link, but it was certainly an unnerving experience initially. I suggested that she check the number for the local Salvation Army in the phone book (I couldn’t tell her as we were helping out for the day) and call them to find out the times of services. She could then go along and see how she liked it.

Perhaps this Christmas you want to link up with a local church or The Salvation Army. This could be for the first time, to pick up where you left off or to carry on a family tradition. The reason doesn’t matter, for God will meet you where you are, and take you on from there.

Why have you come today?

Oh and if anyone asks why you are there, tell them about the Pay Machine.

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