I was nearly asleep in my dark bedroom when my cell phone lit up the ceiling with an incoming text. “Hello, I need a ride to working in the morning very low on gas if u don’t mind”. It was from D, who had been sleeping on a roll out bed in our lanai for the last month.
“What time?” I texted back.
“530 we can leave”
“OK”, I responded. I get up early anyway, so it’s not that much trouble. I wouldn’t have to make myself stay in bed, staring at the clock, until 6 like I usually do.
“People Ready, then wirk. Thanks a million. Meant to tell you earlier”.
Morning came and we were both up and ready. People Ready is an employment agency a short way down the road from our house. On the way there this conversation unfolded.
D speaking, “We might have to take four or five people to work with us. I usually drive everyone on the work ticket.”
Me, “Whoa, I didn’t sign up for that. This car only has room for three more and I don’t know any of these folks. How did they get to work yesterday when you weren’t here?”
“Someone else who had a car got the job. It’s alright, if you can’t do it, they will have to make up a new ticket. Maybe the man who drove yesterday can do it again.”
I think for a while because I hate to put him in a spot that will cause him trouble. He gets into so many awkward situations all by himself. He doesn’t need help with that.
“Well, this is pretty early. Do you go right to work when you get the ticket?”
“No, we kind of hang out at the store. We buy food for lunch and sometimes for breakfast when we’re hungry. We go to work around 7.”
It wasn’t that I was afraid of this scenario, but I can say it sounded like one I would avoid, given the chance. It certainly wasn’t in my morning plan…
He went into the People Ready office and came back out to tell me that if he couldn’t drive, they would take him off the ticket – he would lose the job. His solution was that I could take him to get enough gas for the trip to work and he would pay me back after the day’s pay came in. This does not sound like a big deal – to give someone $15 worth of gas money – and it isn’t if you don’t do it often. Our gas cans at home that we had filled in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, were empty. Most of the 17 gallons had gone to people who were out of gas and D had been one of them. But it still sounded better to me than hanging out at Mike’s Mini Mart. So that’s what we did. I bought him some gas and he took it from there.
These new experiences are a daily occurrence since God brought three homeless men into our lives here at the oneacrewoods. Every day I learn something about being financially poor. More to come.