Encounter with gas station stranger leads Tre Boston to Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- A chance meeting at a gas station served as divine intervention for Tre Boston, guiding his decision to join the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency.

"At the end of the day God told me to come here," Boston said. "And I'm a man of faith, so I couldn't go against his word."

Recently released by the Carolina Panthers in a cost-cutting move, Boston had three suitors in the Chargers, the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After visiting all three teams, Boston said he prayed for clarity as traveled back home to Charlotte, North Carolina, to make his decision.

That's when he stopped by the local gas station, even though he had a half a tank, to take advantage of a price that had dropped from $3.29 to $3.10 a gallon.

"I crossed two lanes to get to the gas station," Boston said. "I pump my gas. After I pump my gas, I put my wallet in my car. After I put my wallet in my car, there's a guy with three kids and he asked me for a little bit of change, or if I had a dollar or two. I gave him a $20.

"So he tells me thank you so much, and that God put me in his life for a reason. And in my mind I'm saying you're here for a reason, too. So in my mind I'm saying should I ask him, 'L.A. or Buffalo.' And before I could ask him, my man told me, 'Thank you so much. There aren't too many people like you in this world, God's children. My name's Mike Daniels, but people call me L.A.'"

Boston said he started crying, taking the nickname of his new friend as a sign from the man upstairs that he should join the Chargers.

And as he reached for a tissue in his car, Boston said he thought he saw Jesus on an advertisement stand selling gas station cards.

Boston said he glanced back and on the stand he saw a card that said, "Jesus saves." The two men talked for another half hour before saying their goodbyes.

"I ended up giving him $100 because I knew he changed my life, just like I knew I changed his life," Boston said. "Honestly, that's the reason why I'm here. It didn't matter how much money was given to me. It didn't matter really who was on the team, it just happened to be a great fit.

"God told me to come here, and that's my testimony. And that's why I'm here."

Boston signed a one-year deal to join the Chargers, where he'll compete with incumbent Dwight Lowery for playing time at free safety.

He spent his first day on the field at Chargers Park during the team's OTAs working with the second unit on defense.

"I'm explosive, I'm a playmaker," Boston said, when asked to describe his skill set. "I'm dynamic. I'm a guy that's going to bring energy, and make sure we're always up and high-spirited. I play with a high tempo, so I want my guys to play with the same thing. Right now I know we have a great group of guys, if we keep working hard this group could be special."

Boston went on to say one of the attractions to the Chargers was assistant defensive backs coach Chris Harris, who was with him in Carolina during a training camp for the Panthers last season.

"He's my guy," Boston said. "He really tried to recruit me to come here, because honestly I had written them off. I saw the depth chart and they had nine safeties, and I could have gone somewhere else that needed me that was a little shorter on safeties.

"But they reassured me that I have a chance to win a position battle, and all I needed was a chance."