Bathing suits packed. Picnic lunch prepared. The boys ready for a great day of sand and sun at Virginia Beach.
And that’s as far as we got with our plans for the day. As Bex stepped out of the car she heard a man say, “Maryland? You guys are from Maryland? That’s where I’m trying to get back to.”
A tall, slender man with golden aged hair approached, pointing at our license plate. She responded in a calm voice, “Where in Maryland are you trying to get back to?” The man told us that his name was Troy and that he was from Maryland “…well actually Northern Virginia,” he clarified.
Troy described that he had come down to VA Beach with a friend to work an event, but when he arrived the job fell through. He had lost track of his friend and had been sleeping on the beach at night while trying to find work during the day to earn enough cash to catch a bus back home.
From where we were standing, we could see a church building a few blocks away. Bex asked if he had gone there to ask for help, but Troy responded that they told him there was nothing they could do.
Bex replied, “Let’s go ask again. Together.” So off my wife and Troy walked, with the boys and I trailing in the car, 50 feet behind.
Bex talked to a kind woman inside, but was visibly frustrated when she came back out. We started making a few calls to local shelters and after a few minutes Bex informed Troy that she had found a place on the other side of town with a bed available.
And that’s where the normal story would probably end. But then my mouth opened, “We’ll take you over there.”
As we drove Troy from the beach towards the shelter, he began to open up about his life. About decisions he had made. Some good and others not so good. Relationships that had fallen apart. A roller coaster over five decades that had brought him to this point. To the front passenger seat of our car.
We arrived at the shelter and after another hour trying to help Troy get checked in, Bex turned to me with a look on her face that I’ve seen many times before. There was only one thing to do and within a few minutes she had arranged a Lyft home for Troy. Now funny enough, the driver who accepted the job also happened to be staying at the shelter so everything seemed to work out in the end.
Over these past few months we’ve had the opportunity to ‘lyft’ a few other strangers whom we’ve met on the street. Continued prayers for Avela, Crystal, Zarreff and Troy.
As colder weather descends on many parts of the U.S., do you know the local number to call if you see someone who needs shelter? How can we better care for those whose support system isn’t as strong as our own? We would love to hear your ideas and experiences.