A couple of days ago I finished up a great workout at the gym and decided to get a walk around the path before dinner. As I approached my parking spot I noticed a woman sitting alone on the bench there. I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable so I headed straight to the path and started my walk. As I came around after doing a full loop I noticed she was still there so I walked by her to make sure she was ok. The sun was going down and a cold night was coming up fast.
She was wearing a thin jacket and plastic sandals, with an old guitar at her feet. I asked her if she was ok and she told me she was homeless. I didn't hesitate a second and asked her if she would like to come back to my home. No idea what I was getting myself into, but I had no choice, as one human being to another, who has been homeless in life, I had to step up. She said yes.
I fed her some of Daniels great homemade chili he dropped by the other day and let her take a shower. Then we just sat around as her story unfolded in front of me. She was 31, born and raised in a troubled home right here in Lawrenceburg, an outcast to her family, struggling with drugs, no ID and with about five bucks on her and a pack of smokes.
Gena told me she really wanted to get into a shelter and I told her we would work on it tomorrow. Daniel got home and came over as usual only to find his chair taken up by this woman. At that point we sprang into action. We pulled the bed from the back of my truck and put it on the floor in front of my big TV. Daniel went to his house and got a bunch of warm clothes he had, and brought them over. I pulled down my brand new backpack I bought for the Summer Belize trip that I never used and she stuffed them all inside. I asked what size shoe she wore and she said 10, which is my size, and I hooked her up with some good shoes. Daniel drove her up to the Dollar Store and bought her a bunch of essentials a woman needs.
The next day (yesterday) we started calling the local shelters, which were full. She had no phone so we used mine. She made several calls to her mom and from the screaming and the drama I heard on the other end, I knew that wasn't going to work. She had an older friend named Jerry who has helped her out in the past but he had his grand-kids with him and couldn't help her. As the sun went down on Thursday she was still here.
Gena is a tall girl, about 5-10, with an appetite to match so I kept her fed between what I had, and some fast food. When she woke up this morning I had coffee for her and a healthy bowl of cereal and berries waiting. Jerry had texted me about a place up in Columbia named Crossroads so Gena called them and they said she needs some form of ID and a birth certificate. Did I mention she had nothing of that sort.
We drove to the local health department to see about a birth certificate but they needed ID to release it, catch-22. Then she got the idea to go to her old bank where she had no money but maybe they had her ID on file. That worked! Back to the health department with a paper copy and she got her birth certificate! Armed with these documents we headed North for a thirty mile drive to Columbia, with fingers crossed.
Gina was accepted at Crossroads! She gave me a big hug and grabbed her guitar, backpack, shoes and the remaining Long John Silvers fish from lunch today, and went inside...