We may never see her again
There are many people who will be just temporary friends for a short time in our lives. They might seem like friends for only a few minutes at a restaurant when we encounter a kind person. They could be friends for hours in airports or on airplanes. They could be friends for weeks, months, or years and then leave our lives never to be seen again.
We met a homeless woman one day recently. She didn't really look homeless, and we did not know she was homeless when we first saw her. She was only our friend for less than half an hour, but she seemed like a friend. She also appeared to need a friend if only temporarily.
After my wife and I had finished shopping at Target, we were driving out of the parking lot. We saw a woman who appeared to be a senior citizen. She was struggling with carrying two large bags of items as she was walking along the sidewalk. It was away from Target’s parking lot so she obviously did not have a car. My wife had seen the woman shopping inside Target earlier.
We decided to ask her if we could give her a ride somewhere. We offered her a ride. She had been going to the bus stop.
She readily accepted a ride and acted very grateful. She was not afraid to get into a car with complete strangers. She said that people do not do that type of thing anymore, such as offering a ride. She apparently assumed that we were harmless.
We will call her Alice although that was not her name. She told us her name as soon as she got into the car. She was very friendly. She talked about herself and her story.
We didn’t think Alice was a homeless person. We just thought she was a woman who could use a ride because she was walking with a load of big bags.
Although it had seemed that Alice might be an older woman, she said she was fifty-nine. She went on to give us the address where she was staying. She said it was a woman’s homeless shelter. She told us that her husband had just left her, and she was glad that she was able to find a place to stay. She planned to begin looking for a job. Her mother was in a nursing home in a city which was a few hours away. She said she could go there, but it was unlikely that there would be any jobs available in that area.
Alice did seem to be somewhat poor, but she appeared clean and tidy. She had been shopping at Target and had actually purchased a lot of items. She must have had some money available to her.
She was fortunate that she was able to find refuge in a women's shelter rather than having to camp out on a street such as hundreds of people do. She felt lucky that they accepted her at a place where she was able to have running water, take a shower, and receive food.
Alice said she had not been homeless for long. The weather has been cold in Salt Lake City so she was happy to be accepted at the shelter. Hopefully, she will find a job and it will work out for her so she will not remain homeless.
It is actually unlikely that we will see Alice again.
There must be thousands of women in the world like Alice. People usually think of the homeless population as being men. Women are homeless too. Some are with a partner or children. They may be alone.
It's not a good idea to give rides to strangers or to take rides from strangers as a general rule, but sometimes it seems like the right thing to do.
The homeless could use a little help to get back on their feet so that they can escape being homeless. It is a sad situation for them, and sometimes it is a vicious cycle.
We may not be able to do a lot to help. If we can donate to the homeless, it could be beneficial. Small acts of kindness may help brighten their day.