This morning I’m grateful for people who care for the men and women out on the cold January streets, the ones who listen to long stories and give money for bus passes and make phone calls to shelters.
I met one of those people last night.
Our church uses an answering service for after hours calls. One of the pastors is designated, a week at a time, as the answerer of those calls, and last night it was me. The woman I spoke with was trying to help someone she met downtown, who needed to get to a shelter, but then needed to get on a train to her family’s home in the suburbs, and then needed to find a shuttle . . .
She spent over an hour helping this stranger, eventually accompanying her to the train station, where the staff recognized her and got her on her regular train.
Throughout our conversation, I assumed the helpful person was a church member who had called the church for some guidance about how to help. Wrong. She was not. She called the church because the person she was helping gave her the church’s number and asked her to call.
By the time the answering service got to me and I got back to the caller, she had already done her good work. We spoke briefly about what it was like for her, the doubt you experience when you’re trying to help a stranger–am I doing enough? Am I really helping?–and the need for more people to be as willing to help.
I’m grateful for her and for all those who are out in the cold everyday helping those in need.