You never know what sort of difference you may make to someone if you just stop and ask. I was out on the homeless run last night and even though I know it's a common response, I was still shocked to see two men walk right past an older drunk man who was on the ground, clearly unable to get himself up. There were only three of us out last night, all women, and if we hadn't stopped to help him, who knows how long he would have sat there. He even had a previously injured hand that was all wrapped up and seemed very sore, making it even harder for him to try and get himself up.
A younger drunk man showed up soon after we got him on his feet and started hassling the poor guy for money. At one point the younger man started to act like he was going to start a fight, but with two women praying like mad behind me, and the obvious fact that both men were so drunk that I could have blown on them to knock them over, I got them apart and we moved the younger man on. Not wanting to leave our new friend on the street to stumble home and possibly get beat up if the younger guy came back, we asked if we could walk him home. He agreed and over the next 15 minutes or so, we travelled about a block while he called us angels, became emotional several times, and in one passionate speech, managed to shower my entire face with drunken saliva. Even his swimming eyesight saw what he did and he gently apologized to me as I turned my head and wiped my face with my hand, telling him "It's alright".
After discovering that he lived quite a ways out and didn't have sufficient taxi fare to get home, we got him on the main street through town, on a very visible bench (in hopes he wouldn't be hassled there), and prepared to let him sober up a bit before he headed home himself. We prayed with him before we left and he started to choke up as my friend prayed that he would be kept safe from any harm. Again he called us angels and he kissed our hands goodbye through his tear filled eyes. We left to find if there were others we could help, and even though we went into an alleyway and Purelled the heck out of our hands, and my face, I had to think about what would have happened to him if we hadn't stopped like the others had.
He could have easily been taken advantage of, beaten up, or even just left in the cold. The man could hardly stand, so even if he got to his feet he may have fallen again and done some serious damage. Even when we were with him he almost pitched himself head first into traffic on the main street but I managed to catch him by the arm and swing him back to his bench. There are so many people out there that are overlooked everyday. What kind of difference could be made if someone just stopped to ask them if they were ok?
I came home, took a shower, and just kept thinking about the man we left on the bench. Would he even remember us at all when he finally sobered up? It really didn't matter, what did matter was that he got to a safe place and for the short time we were with him he felt people care for him. So many people are aching to feel someone care for them and love them. Why is it such a precious commodity in the world today?