Thursday Morning rain.
I was disappointed that it was raining so hard this morning as I headed to the car to drive my wife to work at 6:45am. After dropping her off, I decided to stop by my favorite coffee shop on the way to the studio. I’m usually the only customer there at that time of the day. It was so cold and wet out there and it felt great to see Stephan’s smiling face with the standard question, “Coffee?” I sat down and Stephan brought my coffee and added a little plate of Christmas cookies saying, “You’re looking like you’ve lost weight Jonathan”; a big smile was on his face. A young man looking a bit rough and jittery suddenly walked in and began talking to Stephan. I’m not sure why, by probably due to my car being recently broken into, all I could think of was “did I lock my car?” I sure had the wrong impression. I then heard him asking Stephan if he could call someone to help a woman in a parking lot 2 blocks away on Cordova and Abbott St. He said hates to be the one to have to do this but she needs help and she refused help from him when he offered it. He then said, “I just can’t leave her there like that”, he explained, telling us that he found this woman lying on her face on the wet parking lot with barely a shirt on to keep her warm… As he spoke I noticed that he himself was wearing merely a wet hoodie, definitely not enough to be warm. As Stephan talked on the phone with emergency, describing where the parking lot was, the guy spoke out and said “tell them I’ll go back there and wait so that it will be easier to find her”, and off he went. I looked outside to see the guy grab his loaded shopping cart, turn it around and hobble down the middle of the street with a limp I hadn’t originally noticed.
He went off into the cold wet rain and I suddenly became overwhelmed with his kindness towards the woman. I could still hear his voice in my head saying that he just could not leave her out there like that… In a rush, I grabbed a hot chocolate and some cookies and headed to find the man. As I passed the intersection on Abbott I could see him with his shopping cart on the dark sidewalk beside the Army and Navy parking lot. The ambulance had arrived and was taking care of the woman. I pulled up as close as I could to the shopping cart and came out with the hot chocolate and I gave it to the man along with the cookies I had wrapped up. I told him that I thought it was great of him to do this and asked him for his name. “Josh” he said, and I had to shake his hand. I went back into the car and the photographer in me saw the great silhouette of Josh standing in the rain with the ambulance lights glowing and flashing as his background. The camera was well within my reach but I just couldn’t dishonor the moment with the feeling of gratitude I had having met Josh. As he looked back at me, giving me a thumbs up, [‘click’, I thought] I put my thumb up right back at Josh and drove off. Crying my eyes out as I drove back to my studio. I felt so grateful that I have a warm bed to sleep in and a family who loves me.
I will forever remember this image of Josh standing on the dark street on such a miserably, cold and rainy morning. A reminder that we are all so capable of helping one another, or at least stopping for a moment to be grateful for what we have.