Today on my way to lunch I met a woman named Mercy. She had short brown hair and a kind smile. Mercy introduced herself by saying, “I am not a bum, drug addict, or alcoholic.”
The first thing that came to my mind, was a sarcastic “good for you.” She went on to tell me that she had just lost her job and had been kicked out of her apartment because she could not pay the rent. She was now homeless.
Mercy was trying to scrape together $25 to sleep in a homeless shelter that night. She had no where to go. Intrigued by Mercy, I asked her to share more of her story with me. I found out that she was a middle class working citizen who was just out of luck. We walked and talked for a few blocks.
As we parted ways, I gave her $5 and a hug. Mercy’s story stayed with me for the rest of the day. I could not get over the fact that one day she was a normal working woman and the next she was homeless. Mercy told me that she had to pay for her room that night because the homeless shelter was at capacity.
I am so glad I ran into Mercy today. She was kind of a wake up call for me. It was so hard for me to imagine being homeless. She had no where to go and no one to help her. Before she left I told her that I was glad to help, because we ALL need help at some point in our lives.
So, just remember that not all homeless people are bums, drug addicts or alcoholics.