Today I saw a video on my Facebook feed that reminded me of the time I saw a man’s real heart of hearts. I won’t say who it is, but he knows who he is. We were traveling downtown dropping someone off in the evening. This particular part of downtown was not exactly a “good” part of town. As we passed buildings winding toward our destination, I commented on a homeless man we passed. I said something to the effect that it could be any of us sitting on that bench. The driver replied to me, I’m really glad to see he is wearing the coat I gave him. I quietly listened as he explained his story about this homeless man. Every day he drove this route to drop someone off, the man was on the same bench. He thought about it for a long time. The man was always alone, and carried very little. He was old and had grey hair and a shaggy grey beard. The driver said to me, “one day I thought to myself, when I needed help someone helped me. Why should I not help this man in obvious need?” So, he went home and pulled out a warm coat, bought a package of socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a bar of soap. He related the story to me. And, I thought of every person I had not helped that I could have. I told the driver, “why don’t we do something else for him tonight?” The driver said, “like what?” I said well there is a reasonably priced restaurant right across the street. So, the driver pulled into the drive through of the restaurant and ordered a hearty meal. As he pulled up to the window to receive the food, he asked to speak to the manager. He said, “There’s a homeless man sitting right across the street from your restaurant every time I pass by. I want to purchase a gift card and give it to him. I also want to make sure he can use it in your establishment and not be given a hard time or treated poorly. The manager assured us the man would have no problem. We drove around the block in order to get back to the bench where the man sat. I asked if I could give him the meal. The driver said, “of course.” He never said, “be careful” or “if you get scared just come back and get me.” He simply said “yes”. It was in that moment that I saw this drivers heart.
I felt like I had something to say to this homeless man. I walked over to the bench and asked if I could sit down. He had no teeth, but looked me in the eye and said a garbled yes. I told him that someone had purchased dinner for him and I wanted to deliver it to him. He smiled a little. I gave him the dinner and he dove right in. I asked the man what his name was, he obviously had some sort of stroke or medical condition in the past because he had a hard time speaking. He said his name was John. I told John that the person I was with had purchased a gift card to the restaurant across the street. It was enough for two decent meals and a drink. He said thank you. I told him that he mattered. I told him we also made sure that no one would give him a hard time at that restaurant, that he would be treated well and served with no problem. He said thank you. His eyes met mine and I said, God bless you. I will pray for you.
The exchange only took a minute or two. As I got back in the car I looked at the man as we pulled away. A wave of emotion struck me. I choked back a lump in my throat. A simple act of kindness from one human being to another had made that man John matter in this world. Even if for him it was just for a moment.
I told the driver of the brief exchange and told him the man’s name was John and that he was very happy to accept what the driver had given to him. The driver simply said, “good.” “I have been praying for him.”
I have spent a lot of time with the driver of this vehicle over the years, and had never seen this side of him so clearly. We had never really spoken about this subject. The driver simply felt that giving back was the right thing to do.
I suppose the point of all this rambling is, people have helped our family tremendously along the way. Sometimes I get so caught up in what is happening with our situation, I forget that there is a lot of people out there that simply want to help. They expect nothing from us in return. They have hearts that I can clearly see, just like the driver of the vehicle I was in that night. Thank you to anyone who has helped us along the way, or put up with all the drama of the last two years. I say thank you all the time, but I want everyone who has helped us to know that I can see your heart.
Much love, Faith