When my wife had breast cancer, we arranged to pay $150 for an office visit to the oncologist. The doctor agreed to that amount with my daughter and confirmed it with me before the visit was scheduled. We paid at the end of the visit and never returned.

A month or two later I received a bill for an additional $247. I contacted the office and was told they would take care of it. When I received another bill, I called again, and again a third time, each time being told they would look into and get back to me. They never called back.

A few months later, I began getting calls from a collections agency, then a different one, and then yet another as they passed the bill from one collections firm to another. Each time I explained that I didn’t owe anything. The collections companies would represent themselves as the hospital, and at first I didn’t know that they weren’t, so it was only later that I again called the hospital.

Finally, the calls ended and I thought they had all written it off. But then, years later, the amount plus penalty was removed from my state tax refund. A letter came from the state saying I could contest the charge and gave me a number to call. I called 3 times, each time leaving a message and was promised that the individual would return my call, probably “later today”.

After the first unreturned call, I spoke with the operator to make sure that the person I was leaving a voicemail for was not out sick or on vacation. I was assured she would call me soon. After 2 weeks without a returned call, I contacted the legal office of the hospital. When told that I could email or fax my paperwork to them, I replied that I would prefer to come into the office and speak to someone.

When I went to the office to visit, I was surprised that no one was at the reception desk–the computer systems had gone down and the staff had been sent home. The person of authority, who sent everyone home, was the father of a child whom my wife and I had cared for in our church nursery. I explained the situation, gave him copies I had prepared in advance of all the documentation that I had, and left.

Within 15 minutes, I received a phone call from the person who had ignored my repeated messages and was told that she had already been working on my case and that I would get every penny returned. Had God not provided the perfect time for me to go to the legal office that day, I am sure that I would still be fighting this case.