Behind The Wheel #1-Band of Brothers
Some of you may or may not know I drive for a rideshare company in my free time. It’s fun money, and since I work from home, it gets me out where I can meet people face to face. I meet lots of interesting people, and hear lots of interesting stories. Some funny, some serious and some that really make an impression on me. I swear my car is better than a beauty shop. Sometimes a rider will get in, and by the time we’ve reached their destination, they’ve told me their whole life story, asked my advice or just needed someone to listen. I’m glad that people feel comfortable enough to share their lives with me, even if only for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Some stories impact me so much, I’ve decided to share them with you. I will never reveal their names, or where they came from or went to. But there are lessons to be learned in every part of life, at least I think so. I hope you can take something helpful away from these stories or some of them bring a smile to your face!
Not that long ago I found myself about 30 miles outside of my normal area. I picked up 4 young men from a fast food restaurant. It was late at night, and pretty cold outside. They had a few backpacks, a couple of skateboards and other things. They opened the back of my car to put their things in, and I asked if they needed any help. They politely said, “No ma’am, we’ve got this down to a science. And there’s a story to that, we will tell you when we get in.” So they packed everything neatly in the back, except for one backpack, because they knew it would have blocked my view, and so they carried it into the back seat with them. J, J, A and C all piled in to the car, asked me how I was doing and off we went. So I asked them, “What’s the story?” They began to tell me that they were all basically homeless. Their families for one reason or another had kicked them out. They had been staying with one of the guys in the group, but his mom told him they had to go. He told her, “If they go, I go.” So leave they did. Of course, I could have assumed they had done something themselves to cause this to happen, but I listened with an open mind at the stories they had to tell me. One of their parents had chosen an abusive relationship over their son, so he left. The parent didn’t try to protect him, and let the physical abuse continue, and he decided he couldn’t live that way. Another told me how his parents chose drugs over him. So he decided that he could do better for himself and not have to be in that environment any longer. Another one told me how his parents loved him, he was sure of it, but they just weren’t good parents. My mom’s heart was breaking, with each story, I held back tears. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking, “How do you know they were telling you the truth? Maybe they were trying to con you.” These young men didn’t ask me for anything. All the way to their next destination, they discussed where and when they needed to be the next morning for their temp staffing jobs, or their regular jobs (yes! 2 of them had a regular job!) I remember A saying to me, “Our families gave up on us, and so you know what we did? We made our own family. We are each other’s family!” Wow. So much wisdom at such young ages (17-19 years old). They pooled their money for rides, food and accommodations when needed. This particular night, they were going to stay in a hotel near where they needed to be bright and early the next morning. It was cheap, and not in a great part of town. But they were altogether, and felt safe. They got out, thanked me and I wished them luck. I told them that I was proud of them for supporting each other and not choosing a different path that could have led them into a downward spiral. As I left them there, in the very early morning hours at that seedy motel (with bars on the windows that made them joke that once they got IN the room they should be safe!), my heart hurt for them, but I knew in that same heart they would survive and make it. I felt the determination, brotherhood and love in that car as they shared their stories with me.
I thought to myself that they were much more mature at their ages than I was at that age. So, here’s to those young men, they are forever in my prayers, and I hope I cross paths with them again one day so I can tell them I’ve been praying for them. It also reminded me that you don’t have to have material things to be grateful. These young men literally only had what they could carry, but the gratitude was very evident.
Have a blessed weekend-love to you all~