Sitting at Taco Bell with my homeless friend, she and I saw a man ride up on a bike at the gas station, next door. I tapped the table, “Isn’t that R.?”
“No, I don’t think so. He has longer hair.”
We smacked on our tacos, staring at the man stepping from his two-wheeled ride. As soon as he took a step, we said together, “That is him. He has a unique walk.”
We finished our meal, and as soon as we got into the car, I drove to where he panhandled from patrons. Rolling my window down, I yelled for him and he gazed up at the sky like he was hearing his name from heaven.
Then he spun around and saw me, and came over. “I only have a dime in my pocket, Ms. Pam. I need a $1.75.”
“If I give you money, you’ll go buy a beer. Do you think a beer is what you need?” I put the car in park, got out, and stepped to his side. “I really pray for the day when a dime is all you have and Jesus is all you need. I love you, R. I know God desires more from your life.”
Immediately, he wept, wiping the tears from his eyes. “But, Ms. Pam, it’s not easy. I … I don’t know.”
“I pray you desire to please Christ and that He’ll give you the strength for your next decision. I pray for the day when you trust in Him and His grace, too. I pray for His love to pour into you, instead of well, you know, a beer. I pray God becomes your all.”
Wavering, he held the dime, his words revealing how much “beer” had a hold of his heart. “This isn’t enough.”
“I know. And I’m glad.” I held his arm. “Are you hungry?”
“What would you like? I know you like Taco Bell.”
“I’d like a grilled-bean burrito with jalapeño peppers.”
“I’ll be right back.”
At the counter, I asked the clerk if they had such a burrito, and he said, “We could scorch you some beans, I suppose.”
Laughing, I ordered a full-meal-deal burrito and taco grouping with beef, and got R. a Pepsi. And jalapeños.
Handing him the sack, he thanked me, and unwrapped his burrito, chomping down on the food. He took the large drink from my hand, “What’s this?”
“It’s a soda. It’s Pepsi.”
“I’m not sure I like Pepsi.”
“Well, it’s time for you to try a new drink.”
“Thank you, Ms. Pam. I guess it’s okay to have just a dime.”
I prayed with my friend, and hugged him. “I hope you like your ‘grilled-bean’ burrito,” and I walked back to my car, knowing the steps we take are ordered by our Savior. I didn’t run into R. by accident, you know.
My other friend in the car, who waited for me, hugged me when I got back inside. I asked her, “What’s that for?”
“No reason. I just felt like giving you a hug.”
Today, as I write this, I wonder how many “dimes” R. will ask for, before he buys another drink, not the kind he needs. And then mostly I pray that God saves him.
That God redeems the rest of R.’s days. And that God shows R. loving kindness beyond measure. Which of course, I know He will, and then I pray R., has eyes to see such love from Christ like He’s calling to Him from heaven.