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This happened to me 37 years ago today...every word of it is true..it happened just as I am telling it.....till this day, I never will forget its impact on my life and how I now face others in need!
The shopping center where this happened in Northern Columbus is pretty much unreconizeable from where this happened...the grocery store is long gone..and many of the buildings....it was Christmas Eve morning in 1975 and I had made a run to a super market store near my house on a last minute whim to buy my 3 small kids some fruit for their stockings.... I parked my car about 100 yards from the busy store and made my way to the store entrance..it was a frosty cold morning, and I remember the cold wind biting my face as I moved towards the store entrance!
He came at me with his hands out ....I could smell him even from a distance of 6 feet...he was dirty..had his front teeth missing...he was wearing a coat way too large for his small frame..and he had a dirty stocking cap pulled down over his ears...he begged- "please mister, I am so hungry...please help me".......I brushed by the guy, mentally shrugging him off me as I bolted for the store entrance.....the guy had been sitting on a gray dirty rug like mat that he had come off of....
I made my way into the store and felt the rush of warm moist air as I hit the inside, and litterly ran back to the produce section, where I picked up 3 nice apples and 3 oranges...now back then there were no ATM machines and I only had $3 as I fished it from my wallet...credit cards were basically not available and used for groceries as I remember...I paid for the fruit standing on line for a few moments and headed for the door.
There he was on that mat, and still looking for a handout..he got off It and ran at me again and said .."Oh please mister can you help me..I am hungry"...I remember looking down at the bag of fruit, cluching it to my chest and running to my car....cold and out of breath I sit in the car for a moment comtemplating what I had done...in my mind I said " no..I could not really help that man ", and took off in my car.......down the road about a half mile I could not hold it back and broke out in sobs and tears so bad that I could not see to drive...."what have I done, I told myself"? I remembered God's word that said "if ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me! I had to go back and help!.
I made a U turn, and sped back toward the shopping center and the store....I grabbed the bag of fruit and ran up to the store entrance.......a carry out boy was coming out of the store and I asked him.."where is he"? He asked me "who"?,I said 'the homeless guy that was here just 3 minutes ago"....He told me that "no one had been there, I have been working all morning and had seen no one". I asked people in the store had they seen him..none had....I went to the store manager who was standing by the office near the front of the store and asked him..he said " no one has been bumming around at my store front, I do not allow it"....
I was perplexed..I had seen him, brushed into him, smelt him, he was real but no one at the store had seen him. no one in the parking lot,.there was no evidence that he had ever been there..even the dirty gray mat was gone....I went to my car and sit there for a moment.."had I seen an angel unaware?. To this day I wonder about that homeless guy.... .had the Lord tested me? from that point on, I help those on the street....I keep a hand full of dollars to pass out...I will talk to these people, and pray with them if they like...my son said "Dad if you give them money, that may just feed their habit". I told him, "if so that is their problem.."my role is to help meet needs".....well that is my story..every word of it is true..I have not embellished anything in it......please have a Merry Christmas...I hope we all can find a way to help others as the need makes itself known! I missed my chance that day, but I have tried to makeup for that missed opportunity evey chance I get!
This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Bigjimmie 16 months ago
Thanks bigjimmie! Great story. We all need this reminder!
Thanks for sharing. I think you might find that this test happens more than you think.
I know UpperBuck, I had another one about 3 years ago that was pretty unusual...it wasn't till I got home and thought about it that I realized that, I may "have been visited again"....I am going to share it in another post, a little later.....life can be very interesting sometimes.....
great story, I have tried to always help those in need . I definatley believe there are angels among us. I have a story to I will share sometime.
Great story. Thanks for sharing.
Damn Jimmie just further proof of why you're one of my favorite posters and another reason why I love my elders. I learn more from you guys than I ever did in school.
I am curious. Was the shopping center you are describing Graceland? And was the grocery store you were describing Big Bear? If so I might have been working in the produce department during the time you are describing.
Great story pal!
May you you blessed for the compassion you now feel for those in need!
Yes Jedaharris it was Graceland, but the store was Albers,(as I recall) which was up front of the center at the time......I was around also,when the farmer sold the 100 acres to the developer and told them "he would sell the land, but they would have to name the shopping center after his wife Grace"..and of course they did. that was much earlier of course.
This post was edited by Bigjimmie 16 months ago
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