Jon Linton was at a stoplight on a scorching Monday afternoon. In Phoenix, Arizona, the temperatures can become dangerously hot, soaring well above the 100s, making the pavement a horror to walk on. They can reach temperatures as high as 170 – some people joke and bake cookies on their car’s dashboards, or fry eggs on the sidewalks – so seeing someone walking on the asphalt without shoes? Absolutely shocking.
My heart sank as I observed the man quickly make his way to a puddle of water and cool his feet! I did a U-turn and pulled into the hotel’s parking lot where he was now sitting under a shaded awning. I introduced myself and said’ ‘Hey man, you haven’t any shoes! Can I help?’ In a faint voice he replied, ‘I’ve been homeless for almost 2 years. My shoes gave out on me.’ I pleaded with David to stay in this spot while I drove to a Goodwill just blocks away.”
Jon brought the man – who thankfully hadn’t left yet – shoes, shorts, socks, and a fresh shirt. He wanted to be sure that the man ended up all right and walked to the nearby McDonald’s to change and rinse off before putting on the clothes.
But the bathroom required a key, so Jon told David to wait while he got the manager. She wouldn’t give him the key, but offered to unlock it herself.
With a sharp and ugly tone, the McDonald’s employee firmly states, ‘This is a restroom for customer’s only. Grab your belongings and leave. Now!” David was visibly shaken by these terse remarks! How could someone be so heartless? Before she could say another word, I replied, ‘This man is a paying customer and we will be ordering something to eat after he uses the restroom. Please open the door!’ This woman was unaware that David and I had entered the establishment together. She opened the door and without a word returned to the register.
Jon wanted to shame the woman for being so rude, but instead, ordered a meal for David. He told her that David had been walking barefoot and that his shoes had given out, hoping that she might learn something from her actions.
Before we began to eat, I couldn’t help but to ask if this type of thing had happened before? To my dismay David would say, ‘I wish I could tell you this was the first time!’ He went on to thank me over-and-over, and with more than one “God bless you” I might add!
Hopefully, the woman will remember what happened the day before, and hopefully, she will have a little more compassion for the next person who finds themselves in a tight spot on a sweltering Phoenix afternoon.
The inhumanity of man is our greatest wrongdoing.”
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