More than 40 years ago, I was a young mother who did quite a bit of travelling. I also had a good deal of 'faith' that God would take care of me, and had a tendency to 'make deals', whether or not they were one-sided. One of these deals was that I would help other people on the road, trusting that God would keep me safe. This usually took the form of picking up hitch-hikers, which for the most part, I found to be an enriching experience.
One dark, rainy night coming home to western New York from Atlanta, I stopped for a girl huddled under a bridge. It turned out to be a young man of dubious intentions. I was perhaps 27 and he was considerably younger than me; I was at no time afraid of him, but did begin to wonder whether I should be. He was very intense, determined, and guarded, and commented several times that he *must* be in Cleveland by 7:00 am. I became convinced that it had something to do with drugs, and that the kid could be in danger for his life if he didn't make it.
And I wondered (with my two small children sleeping in the back seat) whether I had made an error.
It was perhaps an hour down the road that I got a flat tire. Today I wouldn't be too concerned beyond the inconvenience, but I had no AAA and this was long before cell phones. And about 3:00 am. Did I mention the rainy dark?
I had a jack. I had a spare tire. I also had a wagon load of luggage topped with my son's bicycle which all had to be unloaded onto the wet pavement. And the kid did all that, swearing the whole time. Muttering about how he had to get to Cleveland. And when we got down to the wheel well, there was the spare, and there was the jack. And no jack handle.
I don't know whether you can remember jacking up your own car, but I can tell you that it can't be done without a jack handle. We were stuck. Shit out of luck.
But this kid was determined. He went through everything. And he ended up with -- the kickstand of the bicycle!
It was a rather amazing sight - the bicycle going up and down as the kid pumped the jack. And it worked. And he changed the tire. We repacked the car and were on our way. And he got to Cleveland by morning.
But without him, I would have been stranded. I would not have thought of the kickstand. I couldn't have used it as he did even if I had thought of it. Quite possible that I would have not been able to get the lug nuts off the wheel.
No matter who the 'other' person is; no matter what you may think of him or his lifestyle; no matter what his ideals or lack of them; he is a person.
Respect his humanity. Leave judgment to the judicial system. Be kind to other people just because they are people. Do unto others ...