The moments are few and far between, but when they happen, they simply knock me off my feet. The moments where you find yourself in the right place at the right time … The moments where your world is rocked and love bursts through. These are the magical moments that happen when “me and I” get set aside and love has its way.
Earlier this month Jared, one of our key volunteers, and I had an early morning meeting that was canceled so we decided to walk around and post some Live Love stickers. It was about 7:00 a.m. and the city was just staring to come to life. We began walking block-to-block posting stickers wherever we went. After about thirty minutes or so we bumped into a young woman who asked if we had any change or a cigarette.
The women had ratty hair, a lazy eye, missing teeth, tattered clothes, and seemed to have some type of mental disability. My years of experience working with homeless people told me this woman was homeless and had been so for some time. She was wearing a hospital bracelet and a name tag that read Nicole.
We told Nicole we didn’t have any change to spare and since we don’t smoke we couldn’t help her that way either. We asked if there was any other way that we could help. She said she needed to get to the police station that was “white on the corner” and asked if we would walk her there. I was not sure what police station she was referring to but I knew there was in fact a station a few blocks from where we were. So, we agreed to walk with her.
As she limped along we continued asking questions trying to understand what was going on with her and why she needed to go to the station. By the time we arrived we were able to piece together that she was not homeless at all. In fact, she had family that lived in Atlanta and was simply lost in the city. As we got close to the station I was able to get a phone number from Nicole for her family. I gave it a call and left a message.
We stepped into the police station and began to explain Nicole’s story to the officers. We told them that she needed to get home to her family. I was not prepared for what came next. The officers told us that they didn’t know what to do and offered no help. They told us that we needed to go to the Atlanta ambassador’s office next door. The ambassador’s gave a similar response dismissing us all as though we were crazy.
There we stood with a woman in need and the “public servants” were willing to do nothing.
Once I had had enough of this lack of help from the police and ambassadors I began to get upset. It was then that my phone rang… It was Gigi, Nicole’s cousin. Gigi was frantic, as Nicole had been missing for two days.
Nicole was brought downtown by her family because she had to appear for a court date. Once the appearance was over she wandered outside. Her family was not there to pick her up so she ended up wandering away. At some point she got hurt and someone called 911. Nicole was had been taken to Grady hospital, treated and released. Once released, she again went wandering through downtown Atlanta … and that is where our paths crossed.
Gigi gave us specific instructions on how to get Nicole home on Marta. We wrote the instructions down with her address and phone number, put the information in her front pocket and bought her a MARTA ticket. Gigi explained to Nicole exactly what she needed to do to get home. We walked her to the train station and got her on the train. About an hour or so after she left on the train I got a call letting me know she made it safely.
When we walked away from the train station all I could think was of the countless people this young lady had probably asked for help. How many people crossed her path before we did? How could Grady Hospital have just put her out the door with no one to come get her? How could the police and ambassadors simply dismiss us without offering any help at all? Why is our culture so hardened that we cannot see a person in need? Maybe it was the fact that she looked homeless… Maybe it was the fact that she seemed mentally unstable… Maybe it was because she reeked like urine… Whatever the reason, no one was willing to show love to this young lady.
Project Live Love was created to break through this reality. We were created to impact culture with the message of Live Love (love in action). It is our hope we can chisel away at the hardened culture and our hearts will be open to loving others no matter what the person looks, sounds, or smells like.
It is my hope that through sharing this story you might walk a little slower through life. I hope you will be sensitive to the moments where you are placed in someone’s path to show him or her love. I hope you will be open to seeing what magical moments come your way and that you will seize them when they do. I am not bragging about my community service, but merely sharing with you an experience as a way to encourage all of us to draw closer to a lifestyle of living love.
Founder, Chief Lover
Project Live Love