My mind has been wondering lately and I found myself thinking about different things that have happened in my life. I was thinking about my mother who lost her battle with cancer several years ago. Up to that time, losing her was the most difficult thing I had ever dealt with...the hurt was brutal! A year after her death, I saw an old lady sitting on a bus stop bench. It was a very cold night. The snow was coming down heavily and the wind was blowing ferociously. I was still mourning the loss of my mother and couldn't help but to think she had to be someone's mother. The streets were very slippery and it was difficult to drive. She sat alone on the bench wearing only a thin, torn and ragged coat. Her collar was tucked up over her neck and her head was covered with a scarf. Her legs were bare from her knees down to her feet. As I looked a little closer, I could see she was only wearing a pair of summer shoes. Arising from her shoes and going above her ankles was newspaper which she had stuffed in them in an apparent effort to keep her feet warm. Her legs were red from the cold and I could see the strain and pain in her face. She sat there under the street lights and stared at the cars passing by. Near her on the bench was a large shopping bag, which I assumed contained her earthly possessions. I could not help but to sense the agony she must have been experiencing. I was not sure why this little, grey-haired lady would be sitting on a bus stop bench in a storm dressed as she was.
I drove around the block a few times and observed others as they passed by her. Only a very few glanced at her. Some laughed and pointed at her, but most people just simply ignored her or pretended not to see her. I thought to myself: “Why are so many people so heartless and uncaring.” I drove by her one more time and as I looked at her closer, I could see tears on her face. I pulled around the corner, parked my car, got out and walked back, and by her to get a closer look. I became convinced that she was in deep trouble, so I walked up to her and started a conversation.
She told me she did not have a place to go and had no relatives. I suggested the Salvation Army. She did not know where it was. I did some checking and to my disbelief, it was closed, besides it was too far away and beyond her ability to get there without help. I reached into my pocket and pulled out all the money that I had and handed it to her. She did not want to take it and began to cry. I insisted and shoved it into her frail and very cold hand. It was enough for some food and a room in an inexpensive hotel. Fortunately, there was such a hotel a couple blocks away. I got her up from the bench and walked her to it.
I was now without money for food and gas but I felt so complete and satisfied, knowing this little old lady would be out of the cold winds and snow...at least for the night...and enjoying some temporary relief from her misery.