Nathan looked out across the shadowed street and noticed a man slumped against a crumpled dumpster. He tried to look away, but something about the man caught his attention. Maybe it was the way the person laid there, discarded and alone, that tugged at Nathan’s core. Or maybe it was just the fact Nathan had wasted an hour trying to locate a warehouse that didn’t appear to exist and he needed to stretch his legs. Either way, something compelled Nathan to help the man.
He glanced back into the cargo space in his van. Empty. What should have been filled with boxes of clothing donated to his charity instead remained barren, void of anything he could have used to help the man.
Just because God could turn a blind eye to those in need didn’t mean he would.
Nathan looked over at the jacket he’d shrugged off an hour ago. He’d worn his good jacket, wanting to look spiffed up for the lunch appointment his sister insisted he keep. He rarely wore it anymore; in fact, he found it hanging at the back of his closet this morning.
Grabbing this jacket, Nathan stepped out the van, shivering against the cold gust of wind as it swung against his door. Dusk was starting to settle, enlarging the shadows across the empty street. He half expected the street lights to come on, until he glanced up and realized why they stood dark. If any glass remained on the lights, he couldn’t see it. Something like a nervous snake slithered around in his stomach. Despite the deserted appearance, it felt like a dozen eyes were following him, tracking his movements, waiting to pounce.
With a tentative smile, Nathan fixed his gaze on the man as he walked closer, hoping to receive a response beyond the haunted look on the man’s face
“Are you ok?”
Propped up against the dumpster, with his legs sprawled out, the man’s head leaned at an awkward angle. Blood trickled from the corner of his bruised mouth. Nathan cringed when he saw the discolored lumps covering the man’s face. This man had taken quite the beating.
Nathan glanced down the unconscious form, looking for any other obvious injuries. Instead of the scruffy homeless man he expected to find, this man appeared to be well dressed. The man’s shirt appeared to be well made, albeit torn and stained with what he hoped was just dirt. His pants were scuffed up, and he wore polished black Moccasin Milano’s, the same shoes Nathan wore.
Nathan searched through his pockets for his cell phone and dialed 911.
As he dialed, a groan escaped the previously silenced lips.
“Thank God!” Unaware of his muttered prayer, Nathan sighed in relief.