It was our typical night getting home from a 4-day cation at his mom's house for Thanksgiving. Our bellies full and car packed with goodies. TL wanted to set the Christmas tree up before leaving for work the next morning, and I was eager to get the laundry started.
As we were setting the tree on it's stand and getting ready to rinse, the brand new hose holder snapped and started spraying water everywhere (including on us). In fatigued frustration, TL threw the hose holder in the car and decided he was taking it back to OSH (at that very moment).
A bit frustrated myself, I stripped out of my wet jeans and started a load of laundry. It was already so dark and our house was a mess. It's been really cold in Northern California, so I turned on the fireplace.
TL was gone for a while. OSH is only a freeway stop away - but I figured he had some issues with the return of the hose holder.
A few minutes later my phone rang. OSH had taken back the hose holder and he had a new one.
So what took him so long? "I picked up a kid," he said.
What do you mean you picked up a kid?
He was 19 - but didn't look a day over 15. His name was Andrew. Glasses, short & skinny, brown hair, pale skin. He graduated from a local high school last year. He was adopted & his father had recently had a massive stroke and was placed in a home. His dad was all he had. No other family - and now, no home.
He's been sleeping in his car and receiving some help from a local Church. He's been applying for all types of jobs - even considering the military.
The home his dad was placed in will only let Andrew stay for a 2 day maximum per week. That leaves 5 days of his old Explorer and occasionally the Church getting by as home.
So, when he asked the (somewhat) irritable TL if he had any work he needed to get done for some extra money - TL said no. But, he took a moment to talk to him.
Andrew didn't ask for money - he asked for work to make some money... because he was hungry. Starving.
When TL said no about needing work but asked if there was anything he could do - Andrew politely asked if he had any extra snacks in his car.
Sigh. Snacks. Imagine working up the courage to ask a stranger for a snack.
So, TL opened the passenger door of our car and told Andrew to get in. He turned on the heater full blast and took him to McDonalds. Andrew said he would just love 2 cheeseburgers and a milkshake - Andrew was radiantly appreciative. TL supersized the entire meal and threw in a 50 dollar gift card to McDonalds.
Andrew fought back tears when TL handed him the gift card. "Are you sure?". "Yes."
They chatted on the drive back to the Church and TL said he inhaled the food. He was starving. (breaks my heart).
Andrew was polite, overly appreciative, and extremely grateful. If this was some kid playing a prank, TL said he should win an Academy Award.
After TL got home, we talked for an hour about Andrew. Then, we got in our car and drove around for an hour looking for him near the Church. (The Church doors were now locked with the lights on, so we hope they let him stay there for the night). We found quite a few explorers, but he may have gone into a store to keep warm.
Although we didn't find him, we kept a new sheet set, a pillow, a blanket and a grocery bag of snacks and water in our trunk. We're keeping an eye out for him.
Andrew provided a powerful reminder for us. TL was at the right place, right time - and we are grateful for that. Andrew has made me look at things differently this year.
We're going out tonight to look for him again.