Posted by Terry S. (184.108.40.206) on June 12, 2000 at 15:48:45:
Many years ago, when my children were ages 10 and 6, I went
through a very trying time. I had just lost my husband of 7
years, to escape abuse. I managed to get a job with a nursing
home as an aide for the elderly and moved in with a "friend"
to share living expenses.
One afternoon, after work, I picked my girls up from the
sitter, and we went to the fair for the afternoon. It was
quite late when we returned home and the house was completely
dark. I went to unlock the door and found that my key
wouldn't go in but halfway. I kept trying for a few minutes
while my oldest daughter went to get a flashlight from the car.
When she returned with it we found somehow the lock had been
"stuffed" with sunflower seed shells.
So we went around to the front door and tried to open it with
the same results. Thinking that one of the neighborhood
children had been up to no good, I really didn't give it much
I went around the house trying to find a window that had been
left open enough for me to boost my 10 year old through. No
luck. All was locked up tight. So I returned to the back door
and broke out a pane of glass and reached in and unlocked the
door. Not wanting the girls to pick up any of the glass in
their shoes and track it into the house, I told them to sit on
the porch for a minute while I swept up the glass. I grabbed
the broom and dustpan from behind the door and started
sweeping up the glass.
I heard a car pull into the driveway and looked up to see two
policemen walking up to the door. They inquired what I was
doing and why I had broken into the house. I explained the
matter to them and showed them the door locks. They then asked
me for proof that I lived at that address, so I asked them to
wait a minute while I went to get my rent receipt and
identification from inside the house. I then, for the first
time, opened the door leading into the house itself.
Oh my, but I will never forget the shock of that moment. The
house was empty! Other than a few things remaining on the back
porch, everything was gone! I went through the house looking
at each room in complete disbelief. In a daze, I went back
outside where the officers were waiting and informed them
there was nothing left.
At this point they were not buying any of my story. I could
tell from their actions and tone of voice that they thought I
was breaking into an empty house for somewhere to sleep.
I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the owner
of the house or her phone number. After several minutes of
sitting on the steps in shock, I remembered the neighbor
across the street was a good friend of the owners, and told
that to the police officers. I asked if I could go ask her for
the number and they informed me that the incident call had
originated from that address. I walked over with one of the
officers while the other stayed with my girls.
The neighbor was able to provide the owner's name and phone
number, so the officer made the call. The owner was quite
shocked to hear my story. As it turned out, my "friend" had
been going through an eviction process with the courts when I
moved in with her and had lost the case. She had been ordered
to vacate the premises by 10 am on that date. The court order
had been issued the same day I had paid her 1/2 of the rent
and a deposit of $300.00.
The owner was very kind and understanding but there was
nothing she could do. The house had been rented already and
the people were to move in the following weekend. She didn't
press charges against me for breaking and entering and told
me not to worry about the pane of glass I had broken since
she had some extra panes from a previous time.
The officers let me go and I went to gather my girls into the
car. They were both exhausted and cold. Also very frightened,
because they thought their mamma was going to jail. I put
them in the car and laid them on the back seat, covering them
with my coat. They fell asleep almost instantly.
I got into the car and drove away. I didn't go far though,
before I had to pull over because the tears took control. I
couldn't believe it!! Everything we owned was gone. I had
used up all our money moving in and paying my "friend" our
share of costs. I had about $11 to my name. And pay day was
three days away. I knew very few people in town, as we had
just moved there recently.
I realized that I was exhausted myself and had to be at work
at 6 am the next morning, so I drove to the city park and
curled up in the front seat to sleep. Needless to say, I
overslept, and called into work to apprise them of my
situation. My supervisor was very understanding, but the best
she could do is see if payroll would issue my wages early.
I went to sit back in the car with the girls until enough
time had passed to call back. I was talking to the girls,
explaining our situation to them so that they wouldn't be
afraid. During this time there was a "street person" with a
shopping cart sort of lingering nearby, looking in the
garbage cans for aluminium cans, bottles, and any other item
that might bring him some cash. I hadn't paid much attention
to him, as I was used to "seeing" these people without really
seeing them. They were just part of the background.
After 45 minutes or so had passed, I tried calling my
supervisor to find out what the verdict was, with no results.
So, I decided to get the girls something to eat for breakfast.
We grabbed some bread, lunch meat and chips and returned to
the park -- for a "picnic."
When we got there and I was again trying to call work, I
noticed that the "hobo" was not alone. He was with a small
group of others like him and they were passing a hat amongst
themselves. I, again, had no luck with my call so the girls
and I grabbed our bag of groceries and headed over to a
picnic table. We set our things down on the table and Tami
(my 6 year old) told me she needed to use the bathroom. So
we walked to the restrooms--just a few feet from where we
were. We cleaned up a bit and returned to the table. On the
way back, I tried the phone again. This time, I had success.
I reached my supervisor and was informed that I could pick
up my check at 1 PM that afternoon. Such a relief!!
We sat down at the table and I was busy setting up our little
"picnic," when I heard a voice saying, "Ma'am, please excuse
the intrusion but... well... I couldn't help but overhear
the situation you are in, and well... me and the fellas took
up a collection for you and your little girls. It's not very
much, but maybe it'll help a little." I looked up at this
man,--dirty, needing a shave, and smelling a bit "ripe"--and
saw the face of an angel. I started crying. (Bawling... to be
The man tried to hand me something like $30, probably a small
fortune to him and his friends. I folded his hand back over
the money and just hugged him as tight as I could. I told him,
"Thank you very much for your more than generous offer, but we
are going to be just fine." He didn't believe me at first, but
I convinced him that it was okay.
Later that afternoon I picked up my pay check and rented a
room for the week, to give me and my girls a little time to
work our situation out. Then I went to the market and bought
the makings for a barbecue and off to that little park we went.
It didn't take us very long to find those gentlemen and invite
them to join us for lunch, which they did. I had a wonderful
afternoon that day, sitting there with those old "bums,"
singing songs while they drummed on the aluminium park table,
and just talking to them. They had some of the most
entertaining stories I've ever listened to and they shared the
dreams they once had. They shared of themselves...from the
As long as I live I will never forget that day, they showed me
what true generosity and giving meant. They showed me Love
comes from the most unexpected places, in the most unlikely
Those old men will live in my heart and memories forever, as
the richest people I ever knew, because they had enough Love
to share with a mother and her two daughters who would have
never given them the time of day.
That was the day, I saw the face of an angel, and forever
changed the way I view others.
~~Author Unknown By Me~~
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