As you know I’ve been working out in order to get my weight under control. For the last four weeks including weekends I have gone to Planet Fitness diligently, missing only one day the entire time. A few days ago there was a massive rain storm that swept through Fayetteville. It was so bad that the power went off in the gym. I didn’t think anything of it because I am on a bike, I have headphones on listening to a DJ Tommy Fixx (pictured below) house mix and nothing is plugged in to an electrical outlet.
One of the employees comes over and taps me on the shoulder. She tells me that I have to stop using the equipment due to the lightning outside. I’m only thirty minutes in and I don’t want to stop but out of respect for the lady doing her job I get off. Everyone is standing around the windows inside the gym because there is no way you can get to the cars. The winds are so powerful that it looks like someone was spraying a water hose directly on the windows. I’m trying to decide if I want to fat run to the truck. Fat run is where you too big to really run fast so you kinda walkjogsprint to your destination and run outta breath 10 steps into the fat run. I quickly determine that my big butt will be soaked and probably slip and fall in all of the standing water. NOPE, stay inside.
After about 30 minutes the gym employees are still keeping us off of the machines but the rain diminishes enough that I can leave and head home without fat running. I planned to stop at the Kroger gas station to get a couple of lottery tickets since it’s right by the gym but for some reason they were really packed and I couldn’t get the truck in a parking space. I bounce and head towards QuikTrip. When I got to the turning lane it had a ton of cars. It would take at least 5-10 minutes just to make the turn so I said to myself, “Bump it, go home and get lottery tomorrow.”
I’m rolling toward the house when I felt the urge to pull into a Shell station. I NEVER go to this station. I don’t like the people that run it, really funky attitudes like they are doing me a favor being there. Nonetheless I pull in. I get out and start walking toward the front doors when I see this dude sitting on the ground just outside of the door hidden from the employees. He’s begging for money. Great, I knew I hated this store. “Excuse me. You have any change?” I clearly heard the dude but totally ignored him. In my mind I am thinking, “I ain’t fidna give him my lottery ticket money. Get a effin job” I know that’s bad English but you are in my head so you have to hear it the way I thought it.
I walk in and tell the employee what I want but in my mind something feels…..wrong. I don’t feel good about this purchase. I only had $3 dollars so I get two tickets and decide to give the dude one of the dollars. I know….that’s really generous of me (sarcastically stated). I walk outside and hand him the dollar. He thanks me but something feels so wrong about this. See I am a really good judge of “fake homeless people”. You know the ones that stand on the corner and have creases pressed in their homeless pants and wearing jewelry that you KNOW doesn’t belong to someone on the street. I look the guy over. He appears to be between 30-40 years old. He doesn’t have on shoes or socks. He has a towel on his head to protect him from the heat but he’s sweating profusely and the towel is drenched. He is wearing a gray shirt that is cut off at the arms, shorts and he smells. This dude is for real homeless.
I walk to the truck and get in…..but I STILL DON’T FEEL RIGHT. I feel a pulling on me to go back to him. I grab a credit card and go back to him.
“Hey man, Have you eaten?”
“Do you want something from inside the store or do you want……” He cuts me off.
“Can I have a Quarter Pounder and Fries”
Keeping it real….I get a lump in my throat. “Yeah man. I gotchu. You want a coke?”
“I’ll be right back.”
Now again, I have to tell you, I HATE the McDonalds that is next to this gas station. They are SOOOO SLOW. They could care less about you, your order and they hardly ever use salutations other than, “Can I take yo order” but this isn’t about me. It’s about helping a person that is obviously hungry. I pull up to the drive through squawk box prepared to wait, 5-10 minutes followed by “whatchu want”. I am mentally preparing to hear this when they speak over the box.
Inexplicably I am greeted warmly. “Thank you for choosing McDonalds. May I take your order please?” I am taken aback momentarily but regain my composure and then my mouth started speaking but it wasn’t what my brain wanted me to say. “I’ll have two double quarter pounder meals, two large fries and two large cokes.” I side eye myself internally. Why did you just order two meals? “Will that be all sir?” SIR???? What happened to nasty attitudes? “Yes ma’am. That’s all." She tells me the total and to pull up to the window. No one is in line. This NEVER happens here. The lady takes my card and is smiling and talking nicely. Insert Twilight Zone and Rod Serling cause there is something unusual happening here.
I pull up to the next window and the next lady is already hanging out of the window with the bag of food. She hands me the food then the drinks. I open the bag to check the food. It’s steaming hot. WOW. I go back to the guy and give him the food and start talking to him. I ask him how did he end up on the street. Dude says, “I moved here from Chicago with my mom. She started dating some dude and he kicked me out of the house. My friends let me stay at their house sometimes. I can’t find a job.” Keep in mind this dude is in his mid 30’s but I don’t think I have the full story. I ask him, “Have you gone to the Church over there” pointing at the Church across the street. He tells me no and I respond that he should go over there the next day during Bible study and tell them you need help. He perks up. “What time?” I tell him to watch for the cars. “When you see the cars that’s when you know they are there.”
I still feel like I have not done all that I am supposed to do so I ask him, “What’s your background?” Without hesitation he says, “Whatchumean?” Immediately I smell B.S. and say, “Dude, you know what I mean. What is your background?” He tells me he is a two time felon with time served. NOW I understand the situation. I know a company that hires felons and I give him the number and tell him who to talk to. He has a look of relief and gratitude on his face as he thanks me for helping him. He asks again, “So when should I go to the Church” and I repeat myself. I jump in the truck and head to the house.
One of my main prayers to God is that He orders my footsteps and uses me to uplift the Kingdom. I am always looking for that “big move” or that “big shift” that God will put on me to help someone. I have to remind myself that everyone on the street corner is not a hustler. Sometimes that person really needs help so I ask you to do what I did. Follow your heart, chances are it's God directing you. You don’t realize that $13 at McDonalds IS the “big move” God wants you to do until after you have done it and had time to think about it.
Now I drive by that Shell station and deliberately slow down. I haven’t seen the guy since that day. I hope he went to the Church and got a job.