Standing on the same corner as before, holding a similar sign, Jay didn't make eye contact, or even look up when I drove through the intersection. I did see him lift his eyes enough to read the sign on the side of my car. I wondered for a brief second if he remembered me.
About six weeks ago I stopped at that same corner to give a guy with a sign a few dollars. I asked his name and told him things would get better, that God wanted better for him. Jay told me thank you. That he had been clean and sober a number of months, but he needed to get by until he found a job and got an apartment.
When I saw him today, I went to the next closest restaurant and bought him a small gift card. I also took one of my "Who Am I?" cards and wrote a note to him on the back telling him that God wants more for him than he can even imagine right now... that Jesus loves him and I do too.
I returned, but Jay was gone from his previous spot. Disappointed, I thought, "This is what You wanted me to do, God, right? Didn't You put him right in front of me again for a reason?"
Looking both ways, so I could drive off, I saw Jay was actually walking down the street right towards me, eyes still directed at the ground. I waited until he got closer. When I realized he intended to walk around me without looking up and rolled down my window and called out to him.
"Jay! What happened? I thought you had a place lined up."
"The job didn't work out. I have a record and no license. It will though. I'll find something."
"When I saw you over there I wanted to get you something and let you know I remember you. I'm still praying." Then I handed him the things I had for him.
I know some people will call me gullible, an easy mark. Some would say that I had no idea if he was lying or telling the truth about anything. He could still trade a gift card for drugs or alcohol. He could throw that note I gave him away without even reading it.
But in that moment, when I handed him the things and he dove through my rolled-down window without warning to give me a hug and say a smiling thank you, I knew I had done the right thing.
I'm not writing about this because I believe I did anything special. I'm telling you because you have opportunities to bring people hope every single day.
You don't have to be able to give someone a job or fix their life. You don't have to go broke trying to rescue somebody. A moment of kindness can give them hope... and that hope may be just what they need to get through another day.
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart,
all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
No other commandment is greater than these.”