I Needed to Help
John was on a business trip traveling by car from his hometown in South Carolina to some clients that he had in Florida. He planned on working for the first week and then taking another week to just relax and take in some Florida sunshine.
He pulled off the highway in southern Georgia and drove a couple of miles to a small town where he wanted to get something to eat. It was dark, a couple of hours, after sundown. As he pulled into the diner he noticed two people around a dumpster. It was just starting to rain and John thought, oh I hate driving in the rain. He went inside the diner and had a sandwich, some fries and a couple of cups of coffee. He thanked the waitress and gave her a nice tip.
John got in his car, backed up, and pulled around. His headlights caught two people sitting on a bench in the rain. He thought, OMG, what are they doing sitting there in the rain? John just sat there for a minute looking at them. They were pulling a piece of plastic over themselves. John said to himself, “I can’t drive away, I just can’t.” He pulled his car around. Walking up to the bench he said, “What are the two of you doing sitting here in the rain?”
“Please don’t hurt us,” the woman said. “My daughter and I have no place to go, we are homeless.”
John looked at the little girl and guessed her age at around five. He said, “What are your names?”
“I am Joan and this is my daughter, Amy.”
John asked, “Was that you I saw at the dumpster when I pulled into the diner?”
“Yes, we were looking for something to eat,” replied Joan.
John looked around and saw a small motel not far from the diner. He said, “The first thing we have to do is get you out of this rain. Let’s go to the motel over there.”
Joan said, “Sir, we don’t have any money, we can’t afford a motel. Besides, I don’t know if I can trust you.”
“I can understand that,” said John. “However, I assure you that you have nothing to worry about.”
They went to the motel and John got a room for Joan and Amy. He paid for a motel room for a week. John had business to do in Florida. He had planned on staying in Florida longer, but he figured that he could rearrange his schedule. Joan and Amy both took a shower and were so happy to get cleaned up. John said, ‘Wait here a few minutes and I’ll be right back.” He went to the diner and got a hamburger, fries, and a soda for each of Joan and Amy. He gave them the food and they were so grateful. John said, “Your motel room is paid for the week. I have to go to Florida and do some business. I promise you that I will be back in a week.” He gave them some money so they could go to the diner and get something to eat.
After John left, Joan and Amy laid down on the bed and slept for hours. They were so glad to sleep in an actual bed. Joan woke up first and sat at a little table in the room and was looking out of the window. Amy woke up about an hour later and said, “What is it, mommy? Is there something wrong?”
Joan said, “I was just thinking. I wonder if John will come back or not. People often do things that they say they will but then do not do it.”
Amy replied, “He’ll be back, mommy, I know he will.”
Joan pulled her close to her and told her how much she loved her.
They were so happy to actually get something to eat and have a nice warm bed to sleep in at night. Just as John promised he would he came back in a week. John said, “ I have been thinking. How would the two of you like to go to South Carolina with me?”
Joan said, “I don’t know, John. I grew up here, this is my home.”
“You are homeless, Joan. You and Amy deserve better. I own a small manufacturing business in South Carolina. I do pretty well and I want to help you. I can understand if you are leery about me, but this is a legitimate offer. I can take you home with me, give you a job in my business, and set you up in an apartment until you get back on your feet.”
Joan thought about it for a minute as Amy came over to her. “Let’s do it,” Amy said.
Joan said, “Can I ask you something, John?”
“Sure you can ask me anything.”
“Why are you doing this for us?”
John said, “Because it is the right thing to do.”
John and Joan did a lot of talking on the way back to John’s home in South Carolina. Joan had become pregnant and her boyfriend wanted her to get an abortion. Joan couldn’t do it so her boyfriend left them. Joan had a job working for a company and she was doing fine as a single mother. Six months ago the company closed and relocated to Mexico. She held on as long as she could but two months ago she became homeless. Her and Amy have been living homeless for the past two months.
John felt so sorry for them. He had always done pretty well and can’t imagine what they were going through, but he knew they needed help. John got them set up in a small apartment not far from his business so Joan could walk to the job. He had Lorraine, his shop supervisor, show her what to do in the assembly department. Joan had been there for a couple of weeks when Lorraine knocked on his open door and said, “You old softie you. Joan told me what you did for her and her daughter. You are a good man John, you really are.”
“Thanks, Lorraine, I just felt that it was the right thing to do. I couldn’t leave them homeless, I just couldn’t do it.”
A couple of months went by and John was sitting in his office looking at Joan working at assembling some parts. He smiled at the fact that she was a good worker. However, he also realized that she was a beautiful woman and she had the sweetest personality. John asked Lorraine if she would have Joan come into his office
Joan walked in and said, “Did I do something wrong?”
“Of course not,” replied John. “How is Amy doing in school?”
“She is doing fine, she loves it.”
John said, “Joan, would you and Amy like to have dinner with me tonight?”
Joan replied, “Isn’t that against company policy?”
John laughed and said, “Joan, I like you a lot and I want to see you outside of work. You are a beautiful, nice, pleasant, and interesting woman.”
“Wow,” she said.
That was the start of dating for John and Joan. It was three months later when John asked her to move into his house. John helped them move out of their apartment on a Saturday. John said to Amy, “This is your room, I hope you like it.”
“It is awesome,” said Amy. “Can I decorate it any way I want?”
“Yes, you can, it is your room.”
John then showed Joan to her room. John sat in his chair in the living room as Joan and Amy walked in to be with him. Joan said, “What are you thinking, John?”
“I was just thinking that it has been over six years since my wife passed away. That rotten cancer took her life away from her. She suffered so much the last few months,” said John.
Joan replied, “I’m sorry to hear that, John.”
It was about four months later with John, Joan, and Amy living in the same house that John opened his bedroom door and saw Joan in her bathrobe making breakfast on a Sunday morning. Amy was sitting on a stool watching her. John stood there for the longest time watching them. He thought I am a lucky man.
He walked over to Joan, took her in his arms and kissed her. John said, “I love you, will you marry me?”
It caught Joan by surprise, but Amy screamed, “Yes, yes, say yes, mommy!”
Joan cuddled up close to John and said, “Yes, I love you, John.”
Copyright Larry W. Fish 2017