I have met some interesting folks along the way, trust me! Working in a church affords someone quite a few interesting experiences and I was definitely not exempt. One of my tasks in my last position was to help assess and administer our Compassion Fund. Mainly we gave out gas vouchers because that was something that no other agency in the area did and sometimes having $10 of gas made a difference.
One day I met Harry. Harry and I had a relationship over the span of several months and I came to look forward to his visits. Often folks who come seeking help at a church have an interesting story and Harry was no different. When I first met him his neck was bandaged and he could only whisper. Seems he was in an altercation where he was robbed and ended up getting shot in the throat. When he first showed up he still had his hospital bracelet on—evidence that he found us because of our close proximity to the hospital and our beautiful carillon which drew folks in.
Harry was well versed in the Bible. He put me to shame. Here I was the “church lady” and he knew way more than me. Harry and I had many adventures and even though I imagine some of my church friends worried about me when I was helping him I never felt in harm’s way. I helped him get stuff out of his car and store it safely since he was homeless, I provided cleaning items for him to clean the still blood stained steering wheel and dashboard and yes—I even gave him a few meals.
One of the more memorable experiences was when he let me in on the secret that he was a police informant. He was staying at a home in the area helping the owner do some renovations in exchange for a place to stay. He told me he needed a ride to the police station as they were going to pay him for information. Having no clue how this stuff usually works I went along with that story–after all—I felt he hadn’t lied to me yet. So I drove and on the way he asked me to stop at the home he was staying at to get something. I obliged and he returned with a sweatshirt. We were driving along –destination police station. I stopped at a stoplight and Harry hopped out of the car and I was perplexed until he hopped back in completely clad in sweatshirt with hoodie up and drawn tight. It was hot out and I wondered what the heck that was all about and asked him and he told me he had to hide his identity when he went to the station in case someone saw him and recognized him. Okay…….I admit now that maybe I had not used the best judgment but hey—-we were going to a police station, right?
When we got to the police station he went in the back door and I waited in the car. I called the secretary at the church and told her if I didn’t come back to come find me in the police parking lot and we had a good laugh about that but she made me promise to call her if anything went weird!! Harry came back out shortly with no money and I dropped him back off at his place. He was not forthcoming with what had happened but I guess it wasn’t anything worth paying for.
Harry disappeared after some time and I wondered what had happened. Every once in a while he would call the church and update us on where he was and how he was doing. Life was not always easy for Harry but I still think of him today and wonder if he remembers me at all. He made a difference in my life and I hope and pray that life has gotten easier for him. Did you ever meet someone like Harry that you couldn’t forget???