Finished my last job early today at 11:30, so headed from Paradise Valley to my office in Phoenix. Driving down 32nd street I spot Miss Norma sitting on a curb in a city park parking lot.
As I drive up to her, taking out a curb in my car myself, she stands up to walk away. Can’t say that I blame her considering my relationships with curbs and all, but I call out to her.
Even as fumbling with trying to turn my gps off on my phone, she walks over to me.
“I made an extra lunch today. I was wondering if you would like it?”
Immediately I feel her heart swell.
“Thank you,” she says. “They cut my assistance. They cut my food stamps. I’m living off of $630 a month for rent and that’s about it, but God is still providing.”
She is nothing but skin and bones. I can’t tell how old she is. Life has certainly taken her youth, but she’s still praising God.
“Thank you,” she adds. “What a nice way to start my day off.”
I shake her hand and introduce myself.
Miss Norma, I pray you have a blessed day.
“I already am. Thank you, again.”
I drive about a thousand feet from the city park, and I spot an older gentleman wearing a couple of shirts, and a large floppy hat, like what you would see a gardner wear. He’s going through a large trash bin from a trailer park, pulling out plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
Having past the turn in, I circle around the block and head back. I pull up close to the wall so as not to spook him. He doesn’t notice me approach until I’m right in front of him.
Holding up the lunch bag I tell him I made an extra lunch and ask if he would like it. He smiles and nods as he puts his hand out for it.
“Thank you,” he says softly, a whisper really, and high pitch voice that is almost childlike.
At this point I’m wondering if he even understand me because now he is just nodding at me with a gentle grin.
I put my hand up to shake his hand. He extends his arm, and showing me how dirty his gloves are. I squeeze his forearm.
“Thank you,” he says once again.
I get back in my car and proceed to continue driving around the drive to get back out.
Within ten feet I pass two gentlemen who are talking next to their car and then suddenly notice I’m driving the wrong way.
Feeling like a dumb white girl, I stop, make a U-turn and wave back at the two men as I drive pass them once again.
Knowing I have one more lunch to hand out, I take 32nd street all the way down to Washington, instead of going on the freeway. As I’m going under the overpass I notice Mr. Kurt.
Only problem is there is no place for me to pull over. I drive a quarter of a mile to the light and question if I should really pull over now knowing I’d have to walk a quarter of a mile back to him.
I turn right and park in front of the line of cars that have parked along the street to walk into the eatery across the road. I start trekking back to the freeway exit.
As I walk, I notice a makeshift shack tucked closely behind a dirt pile in the open field, with two people moving about.
This must be his home I think, wishing I had another two lunches with me.
As I approach his curb I see he’s holding his sign up to the exiting drivers.
He waves to me.
He is wearing a heavy, black, worn leather jacket and jeans. He has grey, scraggly hair that falls at about his shoulders. He’s rather quite handsome.
As he realizes I’m about to talk to him, he pulls an ear bud out of his left ear.
“How are you?” I ask as I extend my hand.
He takes his cigarette out of his mouth and shakes my hand with his free hand.
“Good, thank you. But very hungry.”
I explain that I was driving down the road and noticed him. Being that I had made an extra lunch today, I thought I would pull over and bring it to him.
“Oh God bless you,” he says.
“He already has,” I reply. “Have a good day.”
I walk back a quarter of a mile to my car.
As I walk I think to myself, God sees this. He sees where Mr. Kurt lives. He sees how hard some will work to earn a little bit of cash collecting trash. He sees Miss. Norma struggles.
They are his children and he loves them just as much as he loves me. And I’m his favorite, so that’s a whole lot! I’m glad I got to meet them today. I’d like to meet more of them.
So what I’ve learned…
– Pack bananas, not apples. The whole bad teeth thing is real.
– Transcribe my note in Spanish too.
– Get out of my car to interact.
– If they want to talk, listen. If they don’t, don’t take it personally and just walk away.
– This took almost no time to do.
– Today I saw the face of God. He’s beautiful and I want to see him again soon and quite often.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat” – Matthew 25:35