There are some advantages to being single with no children of your own. In the evenings, one can wander around town for hours, imbibe in excellent food and drink (of course with moderation) and simply hang out and observe life.
We don't have anyone else to worry about, so there is an opportunity take a closer look at the people we encounter in everyday life. At times, our single status and our single lifestyle fills in a much needed societal gap. We can identify those who require assistance and maybe some gentle correction. Of course, married people do this as well. But, as a single person who has nowhere specific to go in the evenings, and no one who needs you at home, this is much easier to do.
On a recent weekday afternoon, I returned from work to an eastern suburb of Phoenix, to encounter a young woman meandering through a very hot and very large parking lot. She was out there for several minutes going nowhere. Repeatedly, she headed in one direction and then changed her mind and headed in another. Taking in that scene was odd and just left me feeling uncomfortable.
She had a toddler in a stroller and an infant strapped to her front, just dangling like a sack of potatoes. The infant's arms were beet red. Someone passed by and said, "What is she thinking??" and then proceeded to walk away with disgust.
So, I decided to watch for a few more minutes to see if she was okay. She continued her pattern…wheeling over the hot pavement for awhile and then changing her mind and heading in another direction. This went on long enough to make me wonder what in the world was going on.
I approached the young lady. "How are you doing ma'am? Is everything okay? It's extremely hot out today, and I noticed that you and the children have been out here in the direct sunlight for quite some time."
She said that everything was fine.
"Are you sure? Do you need anything?"
"Yes, where is there a restroom in the area?"
I responded, "There are restrooms all over the place here. At this corner, we have an ice cream shop, grocery store, sandwich shop and drug store. They all have public restrooms."
Additionally, I asked, "Do you have any water?"
She responded, "Usually, I have water."
Then I continued, "I would like to get some water for you."
"No, I don't need any." She moved on several feet from me and did not proceed to any of the establishments with the restrooms.
A man who works in a nearby tattoo shop came out and said to me, "So you noticed that lady, too." He also mentioned the baby's red arms.
I said, "I am about five seconds from calling 911."
The tattoo man said, "Do it now!! Just do it!! She's been out here for thirty minutes!!"
Once I heard that, my decision was easy. Thirty minutes on asphalt with an infant and a preschooler and it's over 100 degrees!! No more discernment was needed.
The 911 dispatcher asked me a multitude of questions. "Where is she now? Where is she going? What is she doing?"
I told her that the young lady was headed to a bus.
Her response, "I'm dispatching the fire department to stop the bus. We are going to check on this."
She and the bus left. I probably will never know what happened after that.
While I continued home, I reflected on my actions. I wondered what else I could have done. This person's behavior was simply not safe, not for her nor for the two vulnerable souls.
May the readers pray fervently for this woman. She is in God's hands. May He fulfill the divinely-inspired promise of St. Paul: "We know that all things work for good, for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8: 28)
Dear Lord, call this young lady and her children and please use this incident for good!! You are holy and mighty. Thank you dear Living God for covering all of us with droplets of Grace. When our lives feverishly overwhelm us with struggles and great burdens, we lean on you and welcome the river of Living Water who is the Holy Spirit to fill us with hope, peace, provision, and wisdom.