This is a story written by a friend of mine. She recently sent me this e-mail about an encounter she had with a homeless lady in downtown Austin. She gave me permission to post her story.
I met a lady at the store down the road. We ran for paper plates, etc. She is homeless & filthy; literally covered in dirt. She appeared fearful to speak to anyone but couldn't resist saying "hi" to [my son], who ran up to her & tried to grab her hand. She told me I was "blessed to have him". I could tell by her tone that she had had children at one time. She told me she was hungry & asked if I had $1. I told her I don't normally carry cash but I had some drinks in my car. I told her I'd look to see what I had. By the time we were buckled in, she had walked away. I looked around & saw her getting yelled at by a mom (with the mom's daughter) on the other side of the parking lot. I drove up to the homeless woman as she walked away & I could see urine on her shorts & more dirt. She flinched when I drove up. I told her "it's ok" & showed her the $4 I had found in my wallet. She hesitantly came to my window. I asked her for her name. She was truly surprised. She whispered, "Sandy". Then in a tearful voice she said, "I am homeless but I still have a heart." I introduced myself & asked permission to pray for her. She started crying. I handed her the money & said, "I wish I could do more...Jesus loves you." Through tears she looked quickly skyward & said "I know". She said, "I know now that all I need is food in my stomach, some shade & to be able to pray." She looked at me with genuine gratitude, still crying. She said, "You have no idea how far this will go. I can get some food to eat." Then she became embarrassed about crying in front of a stranger. She quickly turned & walked away. Her voice was hoarse from dehydration. I could tell her body was overcome with the blazing Texas heat. But she walked off thanking Jesus for my piddly gift & because someone cared enough to ask her name. It was so hard not to run after her & beg her to go to an emergency room. I know she probably won't be alive much longer. I may have just paid for her last meal. What amazes me is that this woman is a mother, a daughter, a sister-in-Christ. And no one even wanted to know her name.