I was sitting in the car with the windows down, waiting for my daughter to come out of Walgreen’s. It was nearly ten o’clock, we had stopped to pick up some Diet Coke. That is my “coffee” in the mornings and we were totally out. All of a sudden, I started hearing this pitiful moaning wail and a scrawny long-haired girl comes around the corner and plops herself down on the curb in the parking lot. I can see she is fumbling with her cell phone, and I can tell she is upset, but I am not sure what is going on.
She finally gets someone on the phone and I can hear her begging someone named David to come get me, pleeeeze don’t leave me here all night. I can’t decide if she is a teenager who has run away from home and is calling a boyfriend or a big brother, or if the people on the other end of the line have kicked her out and they don’t want her back.
In the meantime, my daughter comes to the car and we continue listening to the crying and pleading. We are in the dark and the girl is not aware of our presence. We are discussing what to do. I told my daughter I could not just drive off and leave her there (and she agrees). So we decide to pull over to her and see if we can help.
I drive up pretty close and she has her head down and is still not really aware of our presence in the car so near. I asked her, a little loudly, “Are you going to be all right?” And she looks up and says in the most pitiful voice, “Noooo.”
Now, when she looks up, I realize this is not a girl. This is a woman, probably in her early thirties, who, at the moment, looks a little like the epitome of that old saying, “she looks like she has been road hard and put up wet”. Nevertheless, at this point, I am committed to my good deed, and I ask her if she needs a ride somewhere. Well she brightened considerably at this offer and said I could bring her to the trailer park just up the street.
But once she got in the car, she decided I could just go ahead and bring her to Linda’s, as if I should know Linda. Well, actually, once she got in the car, part of her problem was immediately evident. She was drunker than Cooter Brown. The smell clued me in. And Linda’s was the little bar up the street from Walgreen’s.
I dropped her off at Linda’s and she staggered in to find her boyfriend. Her last words to me were, “You are so nice.”
Then I drove on home with my car reeking of alcohol and started reading my Bloglines where I saw that David had posted a possible answer to the mystery of the chalked note on his driveway that said “Y’all R so nice.” Lo and behold, he thinks it might have been a little girl who they helped when she fell of her bike.
I doubt this woman will come back and chalk a thank you message on my driveway, but I know she was grateful for our kindness.
I think of two things:
In as much as you have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me. (I grew up with good old King James, and it is hard to get his way of speaking out of my head when I start trying to remember verses from the top of my head!)
There but for the grace of God go I. God forbid that I would ever be so callous to think with pride that I could never fall in that way. I might never get stumbling drunk, but Lord knows, I have stumbled so many times in so many other ways. Ways that require the same grace and kindness as this woman’s stumblings require.