On the way to dropping off my kids to school this morning, my son sees a man on the corner with a cardboard sign. "Living in Truck, Need Dogfood." I didn't even see him. We were at a red light and I was frantically trying find something before the light changed.
My son is mortified. He is heart-broken that this man lives in his truck and that the beautiful black dog at his heals needs to eat. My son begins weeping.
I promise him that I'll pick up some dog food and bring it back to him before I go back home.
This settles him down a little, but he is still affected.
"The man was so skinny, he'll probably eat some of that dog food, too," he says.
My heart swells at his compassion.
As promised, after dropping them both off, I swing around to Market of Choice and pick up some apples, bananas, and a small bag of dog food. I drive around for a half an hour trying to find him. He is not where he was before.
I scan the park under the bridge across the street from where Robert reported seeing him, and where a lot of homeless people live and visit. And I think I might spot him. I circuit up the bridge, off an exit, and back on the bridge three times before deciding that it most likely is him. Remember I never actually saw him?
I just don't know for sure though. And I'm leary of walking into a group of homeless people (maybe twenty?). That's far different than handing something out your window at a light. That's right. I'm chicken.
I get almost all the way home before I know with certainty that there is no way I can pick up Robert at school today and tell him I didn't help him. And the stuff is in my car. Reminding me I had failed. So I turn around again and had back over the bridge.
I park across the street and carry the dog food and bag of apples and bananas to the group of people.
I don't see a dog anymore.
What am I going to say to these people?
A couple have noticed me, one shielding his eyes from the morning sun as I advance.
I call from about 10 yards away.
"Were one of you guys on the corner with a dog earlier?"
My heart is pounding.
A series of 'yeah's' follow and a sweetie of a dog (black lab something) comes out from the middle of the group.
"My son saw you and wanted me to bring you this."
"Aw, thank you."
"That's so good of you!"
"God bless you."
"I'm sorry there's not more of it," I said.
A shook someone's hand. Another offered me a free concert -- he would play me his guitar. Another asked me to pray for him.
I pet the dog and tried to tell them how affected my son was, but I don't know if they heard me. They were all exclaiming and thanking so loud.
It felt good.