Tuesday, January 31st 2012
2 Women, 2 Different Days, Same Parking Lot

The day after Christmas, I was out doing errands. I’d been out for awhile when I pulled into a parking lot and talked to my mother on the phone. She’d called to see if I wanted to go shopping for wrapping paper at the after-Christmas discounted rates. Usually we do this. But we’d done SO well the previous year, that we could skip a year and be fine.

As we talked, a very distressed woman in flannel pajamas approached my window. I told Mom to hang on, but I didn’t hang up. I rolled down my window and this poor, sobbing woman poured out her heart to me.

My first thought was, “she’s trying to con me, and she probably will… but listen anyway.”

She had a terrible story to tell me. And… it wasn’t a con at all. As complicated as it was – it all fit together and made sense in a way that a complicated lie never could. I won’t even try to re-create it for you. But it all made sense and she wasn’t at all the person I expected her to be.

Her stringy blonde hair was permed and brushed. Her nose had a trickle of dried blood where her boyfriend had smashed her against a wall. She was six months pregnant.  She had a few dollars, but needed $33 more for a bus fare to Dallas.

I asked her about her nose, and she started crying harder and was so mortified. She had no idea there was blood on her face and that seemed to be as awful for her as admitting she was talking to me about needing money. I gave her a tissue and $40 and told her to take care of her baby. I watched, stunned by our conversation, as she cried even harder from gratitude and walked away.

Twenty minutes later, I went back.

She was gone.

I wanted to find her and say, “Forget it. Let me check you for weapons and drugs real quick and then I’m taking you to Dallas myself. You can sleep and eat and we can talk about it all, while I drive… okay?”

Mike probably would have said, “be careful” and I would have said, “okay, and I’ll let you know how it’s going” and that would have been that.

It would have been all right. SHE would have been all right. That baby would have been all right.

I wish I’d found her.

I wish I’d thought of that to begin with and helped that poor woman who so desperately needed helping.

That regret haunts me still.

I was in the same parking lot yesterday.  I parked and got out of my car and encountered a woman – a different woman, of course – who was talking to herself. “OH MY GOSH. I canNOT believe this.”

I smiled at her. She was well dressed, mid-fifties, and in a very good mood. She started laughing when she realized she’d been talking to herself and I’d heard her, but it didn’t stop her. “COME HERE. You just won’t believe this.” She showed me her iPhone and nothing seemed unusual to me.

I asked her what we were looking at, specifically. And she said, “Well. NOTHING. But it works now! It hasn’t worked in ages and just LOOK! It is WORKING. They fixed it.”

I hadn’t seen where she came from, but there was an AT&T store nearby. I just smiled and let her show me pictures of kids and grandkids and ooh and ahh because she was happy and I wasn’t in a hurry and it didn’t make a bit of difference to me if she wanted to be grateful for a working phone.

And then I wondered about the blonde mother-to-be and how she is.

I hope she’s healthy, and at peace, and not stranded or abused.

I hope she’s well.




1 Comment on “2 Women, 2 Different Days, Same Parking Lot”

January 31st, 2012
5:07 pm

Be kind to strangers, for thereby many have entertained angels unaware.

Thank you for having such a big heart. I’ll be praying for this woman.
Jan recently posted..Once Upon a Time

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