Back in the 70’s and as a young clergyman, my dress was a bit colorful. I had a beard, my hair was a bit long and clerical shirts of different color. I was visiting family, in Ohio, one year and while I was there I was asked to visit one of my Nieces, who was in jail. I put on a colorful clerical shirt and off to the prison I went. Upon entering, I met the jailer, and asked to see the prisoner. The jailor replied, "You are no minister, you are a hippy and I will not let you in my jail". I found another clergyman of my denomination with a book with all the names of clergy. We returned to the jail and presented the book to the jailor who reluctantly let me see my niece. It did not help me that the minister who we with me had a long beard.
That incident was in Xenia, Ohio which was hit, by a tornado, a few years later which took a toll on the town.
Fast forward to my state of Colorado in 1976, with a tragic flood that took 150 lives and was a major disaster. Some of my friends and I got together to start the recovery effort and were looking for some outside help who might have experience in disaster relief. I remember the tornado, in Xenia, Ohio and put in a call the their disaster relief number. When I introduced myself to the lady on the phone, she said, "I know you. You were the minister that my husband got into the jail.
After that introduction she and her husband came, to Colorado, to help us with our program. He preached in my Church and we got to know the couple. They were a great help in our rebuilding families, homes, roads and relationships. So, now I am mindful of those I meet for I never know where a great relationship might begin and where it might lead to. Life is exciting that way.