A couple days ago, I was coming home from my first day back at the gym (woohoo!!!) and as I was getting out of my car, I saw two guys with skateboards stop at the apartment next to mine and sit on the wall. Picture this - black guys, twins, 6ft 2ins tall, big big afros, my kinda skin colour, one with big rectangular glasses, one without.
Twin #1 says: "Excuse me, ma'am can I use your phone?"
Jackie: "Why do you need to use it?"
Twin #1: "We just checked out of the hotel behind these apartments and our friend who was supposed to pick us up hasn't shown up so we need to call him."
Jackie: "Why are you staying at the hotel?"
Twin #2: "Cause our mom kicked us out the house and we had nowhere else to stay. We've been homeless off and on for a long time but we're doing the best we can."
Jackie: "That's sad. So how do I know you're not gonna run away with my phone. I know you see me limping so you know I can't chase after you."
Twin #1: "Yeah that's the problem we're having. No one wants to let us use their phone cause I guess we look dangerous or something."
Jackie: "Well, I'm gonna dial the number for you and then if you run away with the phone, so be it. The Lord will show me mercy for being kind to you today so I'm just gonna believe you guys and lend you my phone."
So I let them use the phone. They called their friend. The friend didn't answer. They called another friend who told them they didn't know where that guy was so now they're still stuck outside my apartment building. I ask them where they're going. They say Cheviot Hills, which isn't too far from my house as far as driving distance so..........I offer them a ride! I MUST be crazy or something cause basically I could be signing my own death warrant. They thank me profusely and get in the car for the 10 minute drive.
Turns out they're 20 years old. Twins as I said before. Homeless. Twin #1 whose name turns out to be Ryan has cancer - Hodgkins Lymphoma. Twin #2 Robert is his support and backbone. Their dad lives in San Diego in an apt "the size of you car" and doesn't want them. Their mom can't stand them because according to them, they remind her too much of their father whom she hates. She stole the $10,000 Ryan was given by some agency towards his medical bills. I asked them what were their plans. I said, "You have to have a plan for your life. You can't just continue to be homeless, dwelling on the past. The hand you've been dealt is pretty bad but you're gonna have to come up with a plan. Did you guys finish high school?"
They say yes, in fact they graduated early and Ryan started school at Loyola Marymount but had to drop out because he couldn't afford the tuition. I try to tell him there are loans and scholarships that they can still apply for and that they can't give up. Robert is going for a job interview the following day at Urban Outfitters because he just wants a job he says, but truth be told these boys need a good shower before they go anywhere:-( My car was getting a little bit stuffy, if you know what I mean.
We get so caught up in conversation that we miss our turnoff but we make our way to their destination soon enough. I wish them all the best. They thank me profusely again. I tell them to make plans for their lives and not to let anyone determine their future aside from themselves. That they can still do great things and that it's not too late. I wish Ryan the best with his Lymphoma which thankfully he says is in remission. Just before walking away, they ask me for $1. I give them $4 and they say please say hi to us if you ever see us anywhere again. I say, "Definitely!" and I drive away.
OK, in retrospect, that was some RISKY BUSINESS that I involved myself in but my gut was speaking to me and telling me everything was OK and thank the Lord that it wasn't just indigestion or something I was having lol!! I probably would never do something like that again in hindsight, it being 20/20 and all but I hope if only for one second that Robert and Ryan got to hear and see that there is still a chance for them. That they don't have to just accept their awful hand. That they can choose their path and if I passed that thought on to them in the slightest of ways, then the risk that I took will have been worth it.
I gave my best...
5 years ago