Tonight I drove by an old black woman with a red hat on the corner of a busy road. She stood a little shaky, but I was already past when it occurred to me maybe she was lost. About 2 to 3 hours later I drove by the same place, finding her a short distance still shaky and looking lost. I thought maybe this woman had Alzheimer's. I was worried she might be hit by a car or something.
I stopped by her with my car and asked if she was lost and she said yes. At this point another Samaritan came by and said she was lost. She gave her an all day buss ticket she already had. I told her I'd drive her to the buss stop on Eastern avenue, only a few miles away. Once she got in I asked her if she would rather go to the police station. She said no, to the buss station. On the way to the buss station, she was falling asleep the whole time. Eventually she said she was hungry so I stopped by McDonald's to get her some food.
My eyes were open, in case she was leading me to a place to be carjacked. I really had the sense she truly didn't know where she was though, so I didn't feel in much danger.
We talked while she ate and drank a soda. (I don't understand why poor people waste money on soda, especially when it's their own). I ordered a water for myself. Her name was Gene, from Florida. She's 65. She has kids. She seemed nice. Her red lipstick was spread about a foot across the front of her jacket. She told me someone drugged her at a bar. Again, I asked her if she wants to go to the police and she said no, because they'll send her to a homeless shelter where she's been raped before.
I told her a little about Jesus and she said she goes to a catholic church sometimes. Between some bites of the french fries and sandwich she started doing the "Father, Son, Holy Spirit" thing pointing up, down left and right. I told her when a flower is moved, it takes some time for the roots to settle and then it can bloom again. She understood I was talking about her. I told her some flowers need special soil and can't grow just everywhere and I hope she found a place that was good for her. She told me flower's need pure water too.
Things got a strange from there. She proceeded to tell me she was drugged at a bar and to watch out for Haitian people and their voodoo dust they blow in your face and she was recently attacked by Haitians. She said black people are bad, they're all bad. I immediately told her they're not, there's good and there's bad just like white people and any people.
She asked if I could take her to an inter-state buss station. I had already been out about an hour. I took her to the "Travel Plaza" on Boston street hoping to get some buss information, but they said she would have to go to the Greyhound, which was a ways away from there. I really wanted to take her to the police, but I thought about her being raped in a homeless shelter. She told me she was going to take my advice, that is, to take time to settle in somewhere good.
I took her to the Greyhound Station. Everyone there was Hispanic or black. I stood out like a sore thumb with my pale face and bright yellow hat. While standing in line she told me again black people are bad. I told her some of my favorite people were brown, Gandhi, Jesus, MLK Jr. She said Jesus should be first. We were called next in line.
She wanted to go to Florida, but she wasn't sure where. When she said a name that matched a city that existed she said, that's it. The buss ticket was $200+ dollars. I told her I didn't have that much money. She started naming off cities in other states that didn't exist. Eventually, the clerk told her she refused to sell her a ticket, because she didn't believe she knew where she was going. It was against code or something. I understood she thought it was a risk to the passenger to go to an unknown destination. Gene was not understanding. Gene said some force is preventing her from leaving this city.
The clerk went in the back and printed her a list of homeless shelters, including "women only" shelters, like the Salvation army. I told Gene I'd call them for her, but she said there's men in them too and she's been beaten and raped in them. She ripped up the list and threw it over the counter. The clerk recommended calling the police. Gene said the clerk was "hypnotizing" me. She told me "come, Jesus" then she walked out the door.
I'm not Jesus. If I were, I'd be fucking healing people all over the planet, not giving car rides to homeless people. I would've touched her on the forehead and my good deed would've been done.
I decided to call the police. They asked me if I thought she had mental health issues. I told her yes. I told the buss station security guard what to expect. He said this happens multiple times every day. Around 15 later minutes the police came. I don't know what they said to her, if anything, but she walked off. Alone, shaky, probably not knowing where she was still.
At first I was disheartened that I wasn't able to help her, Greyhound wasn't able to help her and the police weren't able to help her. Then I thought that being a beacon of light-reflecting pale-face that I am with a bright yellow hat... Probably many black and Hispanic people saw a white person helping a helpless black person. You can mark the stereotype that white people always try keep everyone else down as BROKEN for at least a few people. When people start caring for their neighbors, the whole world will be a better place, one neighbor at a time. Most white people don't try to keep everyone else down, but many do try to work hard as hell to stay up themselves and it's easy for ANYONE to pass people by on the road without thinking about them.
I texted my wife and called intermittently throughout this, so she wouldn't be worried. I felt a little safer that way too. Understandably, she still was worried. I feel really bad I put myself in danger when I have a wife and two kids to think about. I thought this was just going to be a ride to the police station for an Alzheimer patient. I now have a little more wisdom to be "wise as a serpent and gentle as a lamb" as Jesus said. Two hours and thirty minutes later, home at last.
God speed, Gene. Give a Haitian a chance.