This week’s writing prompts for Mama Kat’s Almost World Famous Writer’s Workshop were:
1.) Write about a time your child embarrassed you in public.
2.) You got duped. What happened?
3.) List 10 things you’d would love to give your husband or Dad for Father’s Day.
4.) Share a picture that you think captures Spring for your family this year.
5.) What about school do you miss the least?
I chose prompt #2.
Several years ago our middle daughter was in a very bad car accident where she was knocked unconscious. In this area where we live if you are unconscious and have a possible brain injury they take you to the nearest trauma center which in our case happens to be Grady Memorial Hospital which is located right smack downtown Atlanta. It’s not a very savory part of downtown either. But it is the best trauma hospital in the area.
Every day we would go down to see her first thing in the morning and I’d stay until I had to go to work and I’d try to go back during my lunch hour and then back after I got off work. I would try to find street parking nearby and I learned quickly to try to avoid the pan handlers because there are LOTS of them in downtown Atlanta.
One evening on my way into the hospital I was stopped by this older and obviously down on his luck gentlemen asking for directions. He handed me a sopping wet piece of paper and asked me if I could please help him find the address. I took the piece of paper from him and looked at the address but didn’t recognize the street name. As I handed it back to him with my apology, aiming to head on into the hospital, he looked at me with his pitiful brown eyes and told me he had just gotten off a bus from Louisiana and that he had cancer and was HIV positive and had travelled up from there for treatment and was supposed to go to his “hospice” the next day but it wouldn’t be ready until the next day. He said he needed to find this address because it was a “halfway house” he was supposed to stay at for the night and if he didn’t get there soon they wouldn’t accept him.
I freely admit that my first thoughts were that I was just holding a sopping wet piece of paper handed to me by an admittedly HIV positive person and my mind was wondering what the heck it was wet from? My first reaction was to wipe my hands on my pants but didn’t want to insult this poor little sick man! I’m trying to listen to him all the while my mind is racing trying to remember where the first and closest bathroom inside the hospital is and do I by chance have hand sanitizer in my purse? I know I shouldn’t feel that way but hey! He kind of caught me off guard. I’m am trying to be solicitous and I feel really awful for this poor man but at the same time I’m trying to remember the guidelines for body fluids and hoping I don’t have any open wounds on my hands!
Then he continues to tell me how he was so poor he had to take the bus because he couldn’t afford a plane ticket or even train fare. My heart is going out to him and I really wanted to hug him but my ignorance of protocol and fear kept me from it. Then he proceeds to tell me how he just wanted to find his “shelter” because he couldn’t help himself and he was on the bus so long that he had “pooed” himself. I was quickly getting grossed out by the whole sordid affair so I quickly reached into my purse and grabbed some money (I think it was either a ten or twenty) and pressed it into his hand, told him I was sorry for his plight and fairly ran into the hospital as I said a silent prayer for this poor lost soul.
Fast forward about two or three days and I’m sitting in the hospital room with our daughter late one evening when hubby comes strolling in. He has a depressed downtrodden look on his face, I think he may have even had tears in his eyes, and proceeds to tell me about this poor pitiful little man he had met outside the hospital and how he was sick with cancer and was HIV positive and he had just gotten off the bus from Louisiana and I looked up and said “How much did he take YOU for?” He looked shocked and asked how I could say such a thing about this obviously poor pitiful little man and I just looked at him and said “Let me guess….. he pooed himself on the bus?” Hubby’s eyes got really big and he said “How on earth did you know THAT?” I said… because he gave me the same story outside THREE NIGHTS AGO!!
Yes, I guess there are some people who will use any story to take you for a ride. Just please don’t let it be on a bus from Louisiana sitting beside someone who just “pooed” themselves!