Yeah! Go, Grandpa!

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2017 21 Nov

An image of a grandfather holding hands with his granddaughter as they walk down the sidewalk.

Peter Secchia is a successful businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Italy. When he was sixty-seven, he and his three-year-old granddaughter, Thea, were walking down a Seattle street. As they headed toward a shop selling cinnamon buns, Thea was startled when a thirty-eight-year-old man tried to grab hold of her hand, identifying himself as a policeman and saying she had to come with him.

Secchia, a former Marine, wasted no time. He punched the man as hard as he could. Then he held him down between two parked cars until police arrived. Afterward a detective from the Seattle police force remarked,

“Anybody who’s read the [police] report is going, ‘Yeah! Go, grandpa!’ That’s the kind of grandpa I want my granddaughter to have.”1

Jim Cymbala tells a similar, though less dramatic, story. “Some years ago,” he says, “I was taking my granddaughter Susie on a walk when a couple of homeless men came walking toward us. Their scruffy appearance made her afraid. In her little mind, she thought she was about to be harmed. She was already holding my hand, but instantly I felt her push her body into mine as she grabbed onto my pant leg. ‘Papa!’ she whispered. Of course, I put my arm around her and said that everything was going to be all right. The men passed us on the sidewalk without incident.

“Inside, my heart was brimming. That instantaneous reflex of reaching out for my aid meant that she thought I could handle anything and everything.. . . She showed that she had a deep faith in me. I would come to her rescue. I would meet her urgent need. I would take care of her.”2

Jim Cymbala and Peter Secchia—two grandfathers whose love provides a glimpse of the Father’s love for us. Let’s make God glad by pressing into him whenever we feel anxious or afraid, trusting he will meet our urgent need.


  1. Kyla King, “Secchia Wallops Man Who Menaced Grandchild,” Grand Rapids Press, February 21, 2004.
  2. Jim Cymbala, Fresh Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 48.