You ever have those experiences where things don’t go according to plan, and you can either get frustrated or laugh at the absurdity of it all? Ever have a long day at work on a holiday, only to go home and find a homeless drug-addict woman in her car that’s stopped in the middle of your street and is now blocking the lane you need to be in? Oh, and no one is stopping to see if she’s okay, or why she’s blocking the street? Yeah, didn’t think so. Settle in folks, it’s story time…
My dad and I both work swing (evening) shift at hospitals near each other. After we got off work, he met me at my hospital and we went to the top of my hospital’s employee parking garage to watch fireworks (see pic). Not many to be seen, though many could be heard, somewhere in the distance. Oh well. Happy New Year anyway.
As I turn onto my street, there’s a big car in the lane I need to turn in, and people are driving around it, getting frustrated. After a moment of hesitation, I pulled up alongside her (in the wrong lane, since she was in mine) and asked what was going on. She said that her car had just run out of gas, and that she didn’t have her phone on her. She acted very dejected and at the end of her rope.
My dad, with whom I had been having a phone conversation as we drove (Bluetooth/hands free, of course), heard the conversation between the woman and myself, and told me that he was turning around and would be at my street shortly. In the meantime, I managed to sneak past this woman’s car, turn around, and park across the street and behind her a ways, just to watch.
When Dad finally got there, he found out that the woman had a gas can in her car, so Dad walked about a block to get this woman some gas. I know it’s not good to make assumptions about people, but you know when you see something and are almost certain that your assessment is correct? Well, this woman behaved very much like she was on some variety of drugs, and her car was filled with stuff, like she was living out of her car. (She later confirmed that she was indeed living out of her car).
We spent quite a while trying to get the gas to pour into the tank, since none of us had a funnel on hand at the time. After a long while we got enough gas in her car that she could drive to the gas station and continue filling her tank as she wished. She thanked us a bunch as she scrambled into the front seat and took off. Dad and I went back to my apartment so Dad could wash the gasoline off of his hands before driving home. Mind you, at this point it’s after 1am and we’re both exhausted from work.
The one thing that stuck out to me in this whole situation is that so many people were driving around her, some of them getting quite rude, but none of them stopped to see if she was okay, or why she was stopped at an odd angle in the wrong lane, blocking traffic. Things like this have always bothered me. When I was a child, I found the verse “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is within your power to help,” (Proverbs 3:27), and it has stuck with me ever since. All of us – even those who often get forgotten or shoved aside – are God’s children, and we as Christians are called to shine the light of Christ to the world, even if it’s through something weird like getting gas for a homeless woman. You never know the impact something like that can have on a person. It’s not outright sharing the Gospel story, but it is showing Christ’s love.
This was SO not how I had thought I would be starting out 2019, but you know what? In a way, this is what I had wanted – to serve God and His people wherever I go. This woman needed help, and so we helped.
Here’s to a new year of adventures!