Helen was sitting on an ice chest at the entrance/exit access point for a shopping area near where I work. She was holding a sign in her hands for all to read as they passed, “Need Help, Homeless, God Bless”. I flipped my car around to go talk to her and asked if I could buy her lunch. She graciously accepted and I went to a nearby restaurant to get us a meal.
With the food in my hands, I sat next to her on the curb not really caring if I got my clothes dirty. We managed to get it spread out like a hobo picnic and for the next few minutes I got to enjoy this woman’s company and hear special things about her life.
She was a mother of six children, 3 girls and 3 boys. She had been adopted into a large family but most of her family was no longer living. I didn’t ask her age, but she looked to be in her late 60s. At the moment, she was living under a bridge she said no one else was using, with her older son. He has a bad heart and cannot work.
Her story was simple for why she was homeless. She has a small income but the apartments she was living in had been foreclosed by the banks and everyone had been evicted. She could afford to pay a small monthly rent but to try to scrape together all the deposit fees and other costs was too much.
As I sat with her listening to her sharing her story, many cars would stop and give a dollar. This woman already had my heart of compassion, but I was more surprised by the reactions of each driver who stopped. Their faces wore the pain of seeing this older woman having to beg. You could see how much they desperately wanted this wrong righted but they didn’t know how.
I had the privilege to pray with Helen and in my heart I already know the outcome of her future. She was a true treasure to have met and spent time with. What I am really taking away from this moment however is much larger. I saw people today who want to help each other, who want to make a difference in the lives of those around them. I saw hope offered one dollar at a time, shared with smiles and cheer. This is love given away, one kind act at a time.