Once in a while someone will walk into my life that changes it forever. I had one such experience tonight, and I doubt I will forget it.
I work the Night shift at a hotel on the South End of Provo. Consequently, we get some 'rough' traffic sometimes. This evening around 11:45pm the door opens and in walked a little old one-armed man. His clothes were obviously second hand, and he looked more worn out than a man his age should look. He'd seen hard times and my heart immediately went out to him. He was so sweet and respectful as he politely asked if I could dial the non-emergency Police number for him. When I handed him the phone I guess it had gone to an answering machine because he left a short message explaining that he and his dog were stranded and he was hoping for some transportation assistance. He thanked me and went back outside to sit with his dog.
I don't understand why anyone would ever belittle homeless people. My heart aches every time I see one. I am always reminded of the Savior and think that they are just the kind of people he would have sought out.
I decided there must be something else I could do; at LEAST get a hold of something more than an answering machine! I looked up the number and dialed again and punched through the menu until I finally got an officer. After explaining the situation the person on the other line said that unless the man could get himself down to their department by midnight there was nothing they could do for them. It was now 11:50.
I hurried outside where I found the man sitting with his sweet dog beside our hotel. Crouching down I explained to him what they had said over the phone. I was at a complete loss of what to do next. There was no way he could walk that far in the next ten minutes, and I ride a bike to work so I couldn't drive him!
Just then two cars pulled up with my arriving guests. I hurried inside to check them in and explained the situation. One man averted his eyes, took his room keys and left the lobby. The other man asked for driving directions to the police station. I could have wept for the kindness of this person. However, it was now five to the hour and the clock was ticking. The computer screen was still trying to load the address to the police department, and I knew they wouldn't make it in time. I quickly called the dispatch again and asked them to hold the doors but they refused. "No exceptions" they said, he would have to try again in the morning.
I was devastated. The kind Guest and I stood at the desk in despair trying to find a solution. I was grateful that it wasn't a cold night, but it still felt inhuman to leave the guy outside. I returned to him and told him he was welcome to come sit in the lobby, but he opted to stay with his dog. (We don't allow pets...)
I went back to the desk and there was the Guest again. He asked if I knew any hotels near us that allowed pets and I told him the Sleep Inn just two hotels down did. With a smile he walked outside and I watched as he offered to buy the homeless man a room. I watched as the two men and the dog walked across the parking lot together to the Sleep Inn where the selfless Guest bought a room for this tattered stranger.
I'm standing at the desk now, forcing tears from my eyes as I think again on the kindness of this Guest. He truly knows the meaning of Christlike love. I don't know how many times in my life I've passed by a beggar without being selfless enough to even drop a dollar or even a QUARTER into their bucket...and this man, who was already paying for his own room, bought a hotel room for a complete stranger. I know I will not soon forget the kindness I witnesses this evening. I cannot describe my desire to pass on this action to someone in need. I hope we can all be more selfless and act as the Savior would in seeing people as He does. I know that Jesus doesn't use stereotypes. He doesn't categorize, criticize or make judgements. He knows we are ALL children of God. I hope that I can be a better example of His love as I go throughout my life, blessing others in the way I saw two strangers do tonight.