Last night, while driving back from Walmart, my mother spotted, and pointed out a woman on the side of the road holding up a handwritten sign on a piece of torn cardboard. It read: “Please help me, I am a single mom of two children, I need help, please.” She was about five feet tall, with coffee colored skin. She had a kerchief wrapped around her head, and wore a long tattered skirt and held a large cloth purse in her other hand. As we rode by, her dark eyes misted, my heart tugged, she was not the typical person you’d see pandering on a street corner. I surmised she was Middle-Eastern from her general appearance, Indian, perhaps Pakastani in ethnicity. My heart tugged, and apparently so did my eighty year old mother sitting beside me.
“Oh, that poor woman,” she said. “Turn around I want to give her ten dollars.”
I did as she had asked without hesitation. When I had turned around, she was gone, and after a few moments of looking, Mom spotted her on a bench beside the Walgreens Pharmacy store. We parked in front of the bench. The woman sat up, and stared in our direction as we sat in the car. Her face the picture of a statute of the Maddona I had once seen in a magazine, only dirty.
“Oh, the poor dear, I’m going to give her twenty. I wonder how many kids she has at home,” Mom said, and reached into her purse. “Do you think she is Hispanic?”
“I don’t know, middle eastern perhaps, by her dress, and manner. She is likely a Muslim, or Islamist, but I think she may not even have a home. Look at how dirty she is.”
My mother got out of the car and approached the woman. She struggled to stand up as Mom approached her. I watched them converse a while then my mother took her hand and put the money into it. The woman’s eye’s teared up, and she clasped her hands together, and said “God bless you”. Her accent was middle eastern. She looked past my mother and into through the windshield and said it again. I opened my window and said: “God be praised.” Her eye’s widened and the tears fell down her cheeks–as she nodded in agreement. I reached out of the window to hand her the bottle of water I had bought for myself earlier. She limped over and took it from my hand. Again nodding and saying that God should bless us. I could not find words to respond to her.
My mother got back into the car, and we drove the rest of the way in silence. As we pulled into the drive way, Mom said: “Oh, that poor dear. I wished I had given her thirty dollars. Do you think she has some place to sleep tonight?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
I think I’m going back to give her another ten,” Mom said.
“Whatever you want,” I said.
“Maybe I will pack her some food, to take to her,” she said. She got out of the car and I followed her into the house, where she proceeded to go through her cupboard, emptying out things that she did not think we would use in the near future, before the next trip to the grocery store. I put the bags into the car and drove back to find the woman. I drove by the bench in front of Walgreen’s, it was empty. I drove around the store and down the road, but the woman had gone, disappeared almost as mysteriously as she had appeared at twilight on the side of the road. I brought the bag of groceries back to my mother. She looked at me, and I her, we said nothing.
I do not know if any other Christian would have stopped, given what they had in their purse, or gone back with a bag of groceries. All I know is that my mother did not even think that she was being generous to a non-Christian, she just gave to someone in need. I don’t recall there being any Christians around at the time Christ walked the earth.