That Sunday morning, I was sitting at the kitchen counter grazing while watching American Ninja Warrior and critiquing the performances of the losers. I paid little attention to the knock at the front door until one of the kids called my name and told me there was somebody there to see me. As I passed him on the way to the door he whispered there was a short black guy on the front porch, and I couldn’t imagine who it could be.
I flopped the front door open as my chair bounced over the threshold out onto the porch. There, I saw a familiar looking guy who approached me confidently and said, “Hello, sir. I’m Martin. I saw you outside a few weeks ago and you told me to come back in a couple weeks and you’d have some work I could do for you.”
That jogged my memory. He was the Coastie that got injured while doing combat with the Eskimos. I honestly didn’t expect to see him again after our initial meeting–and oh how I wish I didn’t. I scrambled to come up with something for him to do that I could use as an excuse to give him some money without it being pure charity. There was no shortage of work to be done around the house, but being the sole source of income in the household, there was also a shortage of unobligated funds. So, I told him I’d pay him to trim the hedges. He gladly accepted, skinned his shirt, and got busy.
Martin was a hard worker. He wasn’t the most talented shrub sculptor, but I had to give him an A for effort. He definitely earned his pay that day.
After he finished the shrubs in the front of the house, he came in for a bite of lunch my wife cooked for him and a barrel of ice water. When he was nearly done with his 4th or 5th hotdog, he got a call on his GoPhone and excused himself to the front porch to take the call.
When he returned a few minutes later to finish his lunch, he told us the call was from a lady who was helping him find a place to rent, and she’d just found him a house 6 or 8 streets over from us. He needed just a little bit more money than I’d agreed to pay him, though. He asked if I would give him what he needed and he’d be back the next day to work off the advanced payment.
The wife and I discussed it and finally agreed to his proposition. We figured if he didn’t come back, we’d done our good deed and that would be that. So, we gave him the money and watched as an attractive woman in a silver Camry picked him up at the corner and sped off.
As they left he yelled out the window, “Thank you! See you tomorrow!”
Sure enough, the next day at work, my wife called and said he was back at it, working in the yard. I was pleasantly surprised and felt great to be helping somebody get on their feet and get their life back on track because whatever you do to the least of these…
…to be continued