Marathon Monday was by no means the way I imagined it. First of all, I thought the weather would be warm-ish at least and I didn’t think it would be pouring rain. Second of all, I thought I would actually watch the race. With team brunch, housing selection for next year, and unexpected job training, I was busy all day long.
Trying to survive the torrential downpour, I walked as fast as possible trying to get back home. As I was I the home stretch back to my dorm on Boylston just about to get to the Four Seasons, I heard a voice asking for help. Usually, I will say I don’t have cash on me or I will politely walk away but in this case, I felt compelled to talk to him. After looking into the strangers piercing blue, tired eyes, I knew he was actually in need. He had been outside in the pouring rain for hours and was completely soaked. At first, he didn’t specify what he needed money for, but he later shared with me that he was for money for a bus ticket. Without thinking, I immediately became skeptical because I was told to never give strangers money but to give them food or other necessities instead. I tried to put aside preconceived stereotypes and really listen to him. He started to explain to me how no one has taken the time to talk to him and he has been constantly ignored all day. After trying to slowly walk away, he kept explaining more of the details of his story to me. The man expressed to me that he was trying to get New Hampshire to get to a domestic violence shelter. His partner that he was trying to get away from had most of his personal belongings and did not want to go back because his partner was not even aware that he left. After checking my bank account, I realized I did not have any money and that I needed to tap into my savings to give him money. But I figured, although I may have no money now, he needs the $20 a lot more than I do. While trying to stay dry and go to a bank to get cash, I realized I didn’t have my debit card so I quickly called my roommate and asked her if she could meet me with cash.
This obstacle allowed us to have more time to get to know each other. He was explaining to me how he felt numb and doesn’t even know how to feel anymore. I began to talk to him and encourage him that things would get better. Although I have not been in his situation, I tried to give him the best advice I could. I told him that everyone experiences tough times and has been in dark places, but how people face their problems is what shows character. I then told him that everything he has been doing is right and he is doing everything in his power to change the situation. No, he couldn’t control his partner beating him. But he could control how he handled it and he put himself first. As we got to the dorms to meet my roommate, I finally was able to give him the money for the ticket. He told me, “I think that you were put in my life for a reason and not just for the money. I am so grateful to meet you,”. I was speechless after he shared that with me and I asked if I could pray with him before he left to the bus station. We exchanged hugs and he went on his way to safety.
Our short 30 minute encounter was life-changing. It was so beautiful how we were able to connect even with our different backgrounds and situations. I feel as though he helped me more than I helped him. He made me realize the importance of taking a step back and helping others besides myself. I did not get the marathon monday that I imagined of, but I did get a new perspective on life.