I Met a Young Man Named…

…..well, never mind, it’s none of your business and it does not matter to the story, anyway.

He sat alone, outside my local Starbucks, where I just happened to stop on an evening to meet another friend, whose name does not matter to this story, either, and no one wants their whole life tossed out in social media, except maybe the several millions of narcissists who put every moment of their life on some kind of social media, but that is a different story for a different day, so keep reading.

The young man, Aaron, (not his real name, but I refuse to keep spelling this out for us, since it does not matter to the story), was hunched over, alone, at the outside corner of the cafe, not quite under cover and not quite in the rain, which fell this evening in large, generous drops; you know the kind that make a large, jagged splash-mark on your windshield and cause the wipers to make a gulping noise as they throw the water onto the road.

Aaron (this is the last time I mention he was not named Aaron, or Alan, or anything else starting with an A, since it does not matter to the story) was bare-headed, dark of skin, with short-cropped hair. He had on dirty sneakers and some muddy pants and one of those dark fleece jackets that keep out the wind but soak up the rain. He did not look up at me as I parked my old truck and got out, but I looked at him and saw a chance to do something.

I asked Aaron (nope, not this time) how he was doing. He looked up at me sheepishly.
“I’m kind of stranded here,” he told me. I kind of thought so.

“Are you hungry”? I asked.

“A little bit, I guess,” he admitted.

“Well, they sell food in here,” I replied. “Let’s go get you something.”

“I don’t think they want me in that store. I’m kind of dirty,” he said, and looked down.

“Well,” I told him, “let’s try and see what they say.

I got him one of those little trays with several kinds of protein I never eat at Starbucks. He asked for a water and the waitress complied, mostly happily. She herself had some ink showing, a nose ring and a hair color that does not occur in nature. It was kind of pink and kind of purple and kind of red and looked like one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but then you have to wear it, you know the kind I mean.

We settled in for a few minutes. I loaned him my phone to call someone for a ride. I admit I hoped it was not some kind of drug deal gone bad, but you have to take chances in life, and I am the guy who once let a stranded Sikh in a powder blue turban use my phone in the Seattle airport, so I have been out on this particular limb before. He spoke to someone in Arabic (the stranded Sikh, not Aaron), and I have not yet been named as a co-conspirator in Sikh plot to make people wear powder blue turbans, so that one ended up alright. I later saw him reconnecting with his family (the Sikh, again) and they seemed like lovely people. The wife spoke English, beautifully accented, British kind of English, and she thanked me profusely.

“I can’t give him his own phone,” she told me. “He keeps losing them.”

“He is quite a duck,” she nodded at him, laughing. I thought it was an odd thing to call a six foot Sikh who just wanted to go home, but, then, I don’t have to pay for his cellphones.

Aaron ate his supper, drank his water and listened as I carefully explained about God and Jesus and salvation. I did not ask him to do anything with it all, to my ever lasting shame, but I did tell him, and wished him well as a lovely young lady came to get him.

“He keeps losing his cell phone,” she told me. “He calls me from the oddest places.”

And then they were gone.

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