I turned off of the road and onto the access road next to Bedmart on my way back to work when I noticed something out of the side of my eye. As I drove by, I realized what it was. The black bundle was a small young black woman cowered down next to the building.
Now, in a predominantly white neighborhood, this young lady stuck out even though she tried hard not to. I pulled over and walked over to the small colored mass.
"Hi", I announced, "Are you OK? Can I help you?". "Yes, I am fine, thank you.", she answered in an obvious defensive tone. I left, knowing that I was making her uncomfortable and drove back to the diner.
I sought out one of my more compassionate waitresses, Tony, and had her go out and invite the young lady in for breakfast. Shortly afterwards, I found the woman sitting down at the end of the counter nursing a cup of hot chocolate.
Tony had let her know that I was OK, so this time she accepted my presence without the guard that I had seen earlier.
I asked her the normal questions that I would ask a road person and she let me know that she was on her way to Burns. I smiled and left her to her breakfast while I slipped back into my office and contacted the local bus station. I found that the bus to Burns was to depart in just a few hours.
I went to one of my female kitchen crew and asked her if she would accompany me on my short trip to the bus, filling her in on my quest. The cook smiled at the opportunity and told me that she would be honored to be a part. I knew that if I was taking a lady, that I needed to have another with me just in case of any accusation that might come from it.
I then called Judy and informed her of my decision. Judy asked me if I would take Casey along also....just in case.
I had the kitchen make up the young lady a sack lunch and I sat down next to her and told her that we were going to help her along on her journey. I could see the tears welling in her eyes and she thanked me.
We were shortly on our way with Casey up front with me and the two ladies in the back seat. I could hear the two ladies chatting away in the back and could tell that our charge was excited about getting to her destination.
We arrived at the bus depot and I left my son and cook in the car as I escorted her into the depot. The first thing my defensive eye saw was the guard behind the counter over in the corner. His black skin and rippling muscles were highlighted by probing aware eyes that I could tell were accessing the situation. After all, I am sure he did not see an grey haired, bearded old white man with a pretty and grimy young black in tow. I knew we were somewhat of an odd couple.
I asked at the ticket counter for a non refundable ticket to Burns. I felt a tug on my sleeve and turned to my young charge. "What I really need is to get to Boise.", she announced. "Do you have family there?", I queried. "Yes", came the answer.
"Does the bus go on to Boise?" I asked. When I found that it did, I corrected my request to same.
I turned and handed the ticket to the young traveler and she wrapped her arms around my neck, hiding her sobbing face, thanking me over and over.
I kissed the top of her head and told her that it was not me but God who had bought the ticket. "Now go home to your family. I don't want to find you out on the road alone again.".
I then turned and excited the building not wanting her to see the tears in my eyes also. I composed myself as I walked back to the car. I got in and told the other two what had happened and thanked them for assisting me on doing the good deed.
As I began to back out, I heard a loud and bold voice yell, "Hey!". I looked over and saw the black guard heading my direction. His face showed no emotion as he approached my vehicle. I lowered my window not knowing what the confrontation would bring.
"I saw what you did", he announced, "And I wanted to thank you.". He stuck out a beefy large hand to shake. I grabbed his hand attempting to send a solid shake back hoping that he could not see the relief in my eyes.
"Thanks", I said, "I know you would have done the same thing in my shoes.".
"You are probably right.", he chuckled. And we both headed back to our respective jobs.