The Story

One night, she approached the homeless man with the offer. She walked right into his camp. This woman is fearless.

This is the quintessential beer joint. There are pool tables, chain-smokers, dartboards, a jukebox, and a plywood stage. There’s a young guitarist. He knows three songs. He repeats them.

I think he’s overdue for a break.

My friend tells a waitress that I am a writer—if that’s what you call it. My pal is only teasing me. The waitress says she has a good story.

And without awaiting my response, she’s already telling it.

She is the quintessential barmaid—a no-nonsense woman, mid-fifties, a few tattoos on her forearm. Tough.

“Okay,” she begins, like she’s rehearsed. “So there was this homeless guy…”

I like the story already.

She tells me the man rode his bike all over town. She often saw him on her way to work and wondered where he was going.

So one day, she followed him. He lived behind a strip mall, in the woods. She discovered he had a son.

“It was enough to break your heart,” she adds. “They were living underneath a tarp.”

The next day, she and a friend delivered gift bags. A prepaid cellphone, snacks, clothes, toys, food. As many items as they could fit into a few gym bags.

“He was skittish,” she said. “Very protective of his son, didn’t want us getting close.”

She couldn’t get him off her mind. She contacted her brother-in-law—a church deacon. She convinced his church to offer the man a room and meals.

One night, she approached the homeless man with the offer. She walked right into his camp. This woman is fearless.

He refused. He told her he didn’t want her charity.

“So I got in his face,” she says. “Told him if he didn’t take my handout, I was gon’ call the law and have his kid removed.”

Magic.

He moved into a small Sunday-school room which she and her friends had outfitted with beds and a mini-fridge. The church agreed to hire him as a custodian. They even paid him. People brought casseroles upon casseroles.

The boy attended school. He was smart. And I understand he was a good athlete. She went to his games.

She says it didn’t take long for the man to save enough to buy a car and get his own apartment. Eventually, he got on his feet and she’s never heard from him again. That was a decade ago.

“The end,” she says.

I ask if she’d let me write about it. She nods and tells me she doesn’t want recognition. That’s not why she told me the story. She is clear about this.

She goes on, “All I want’s average folks to know we CAN make a frickin’ difference in this world if we just TRY, you know? I mean, come on, y’all. Damn.”

Yeah.

“Shoot, if I can do it…” she says. “I mean just look at me, I ain’t no big Christian or nothing.”

Ma’am.

You’re the biggest kind there is.

17 comments

  1. Kay Keel - March 17, 2017 2:18 pm

    Thanks Sean! Most everyday you show us that we CAN be the change we want to see in the world!

    Reply
  2. Michael Bishop - March 17, 2017 2:28 pm

    Indeed. Many people who are “no big Christian or nothing” behave more like Christians than the self-alleged variety who are bigger on self-display and judgment than on love and active works. God bless this woman, the folks who step up, and everybody who goes and does likewise. Amen.

    Reply
  3. Teri Butler - March 17, 2017 2:34 pm

    Amen and amen.

    Reply
  4. Sandra Marrar - March 17, 2017 2:37 pm

    Her actions are those of a true Christian. God bless her.

    Reply
  5. Sam Hunneman - March 17, 2017 3:14 pm

    Yes, Ma’am, you are.
    And by spreading THE WORD, you seem to be doing pretty good, too, Sean.

    Reply
  6. Nancy - March 17, 2017 3:19 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Your insight and your way of sharing it makes my day better every day. I know you aren’t, and don’t want to be the story, but YOU make a difference to a lot of people. I hope you feel a lot of satisfaction from following your calling.

    Reply
  7. Heather - March 17, 2017 3:48 pm

    Thanks for your insight and sharing with us. This south Ga gal really identifies with your stories. I am a child of a minister and you really hit the nail on the head when you talk about Baptist church and lifestyle! I can tell you lived it.

    Reply
  8. Stephen Raisbeck - March 17, 2017 4:19 pm

    Awesome story! Always look for to your writings everyday. I always go to your site first thing each day to see what’s right in the world … before I hit the news sites to see what they say is wrong with it.

    Reply
  9. Gail - March 17, 2017 4:20 pm

    You make my mascara run. Every single time.

    Reply
  10. Kat - March 17, 2017 4:28 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for inspiring me and restoring my faith in humanity and the world every day. You make more of a difference than you could ever know!

    Reply
  11. Regina - March 17, 2017 5:11 pm

    There are, obviously, wonderful stories everywhere. Thank you for being the writer of wonderful stories.

    Reply
  12. Anne James - March 17, 2017 5:33 pm

    Please add me to your subscribers site.
    Thank you,
    Anne James

    Reply
  13. Marilyn Rowell Fuller - March 17, 2017 6:59 pm

    Honestly- just when I think you can’t write anything better – BAM! You, sir, are awesome!!!

    Reply
  14. Judy - March 18, 2017 4:20 am

    Oh yes, she is!

    Reply
  15. Carol DeLater - March 18, 2017 1:38 pm

    I’m always amazed that people seem to equate this love of humanity to Christianity. It only takes that one gesture to turn someone’s life around. Most people are scared to take the step.

    Reply
  16. Susie Munz - March 18, 2017 2:43 pm

    Yes, we have to believe, that we each CAN make a difference. We just have to take action. It all begins with a smile, then some thought and reaching out.

    Reply
  17. Loree - March 18, 2017 7:39 pm

    The best kind there is. 🙂

    Reply

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