I was sitting in the Panera parking lot yesterday, poaching wifi and typing out an email before I got back on the road. A man in his early 30s came up with an older woman and asked for a ride to Mandarin. I happened to be heading that way, but I was so hesitant! Was he a wacko? Wanted to rob me, carjack, something else? Serial killer stories filled my head. He emptied his pockets and assured me he wasn’t a serial killer (really), he and his mom had been walking all day and a friend hadn’t been able to come pick them up. They just needed a ride. I let them in, and we drove to the destination. I let them out at a parking lot, and we parted ways. Before he got out, he joked that he should have asked me to empty my pockets, I could be the wacko! Which is true, he was putting himself in danger too, but desperation tends to look past that.
Some of you may think I was putting myself on the line, being unsafe, and perhaps I was. But I have been thinking a lot about helping others, how blessed I am, and trusting God to care for me in a situation. That’s what ultimately led me to unlock the doors and let them in. In some ways, I was letting God in as well. I couldn’t control this, if they were criminals, my safety was up to God. To be honest, I don’t allow that much control to slip from my hands very often, as God asks me to do.
In the end, I was safe, they were closer to their destination, but the thoughts and feelings stayed with me. Is there a line to draw between safety and charity? What do you think?