Wednesday, December 28, 2011


In my opinion, the leaders of our team (at work) aren’t really close knit. (“Hi” to the two who read this blog. I think that we agree on most things relative to this post, but I won’t speak for them.) We work pretty well together because, well, we have to; we’re paid to, and I truly believe that we all have the best interest of our company in mind – all of us. We get along, but we aren’t “tight.” Well, anyway, we were collectively lamenting on how we haven’t really bonded even after a couple of years. Blah, blah, blah. So, I suggested that we do something together. I’m not sure if anyone thought that I would really find something (because I sometimes don’t follow through with stuff – because I’m flaky like that – and I really don’t like that about myself). Anyway….. I figured that we could volunteer our time at The Road Home (the homeless shelter in Salt Lake) during their once yearly big to-do: The Radio-Thon.

Basically, all of the radio stations owned by a particular local media mogul do a contest where the listeners pledge money and coats/toys/clothes. One radio station “wins,” but I’m not sure exactly what they win besides bragging rights. Well, because our awesome company provides a person for the board of directors of The Road Home, I figured that we should spend our time and efforts there. I got us set up to help on one of the donation days. It was a good day to donate because other people from our company were manning the phones at different hours of the morning. It was a good day for our company to represent!

We were stationed outside. Half of us (my half) were directing traffic, half of us were collecting coats and stuff from out of people’s trunks. One of us was the “bouncer,” who basically kept the “riff-raff” away from the radio broadcasters. There were, like, eight or nine stations just inside the lobby. Off track – how do they all talk and not be broadcast on each other’s stations?

How cute are we?

ANYWAY (gawd – one topic….. right?), my friends, B-Dub and Lish, were directing traffic with me. Of course, there were a lot of homeless people around; we were at homeless-central…. So, we noticed that there was a lady milling around a little flat-bed truck with a tarp over the top. This didn’t surprise me. I expected to see people holding on to their last possessions – like cars – because, well, why wouldn’t you? So, I wasn’t surprised by her. I was saddened, and I was grateful that it wasn’t me, but I wasn’t surprised.

So, the tarp was domed, so it was obviously pulled over something. Then, we noticed that something moved underneath the tarp. Ug. Someone else. Look. There is a tent under there. Someone slept there overnight. (We were chilled. It was cold!) So bummed that someone is sleeping in the bed of their truck! Seriously, this is hard! We decide not to completely stare at them, because that’s just rude. So, we turn our attention away because it’s the right thing to do.

A few minutes later, Lish says “Don’t look!”
Oh, come on. If there is not a more compelling phrase to make you look, it’s “don’t look.” So, what did I do? What could I do? So, I looked.

There, the woman was getting a boy dressed. Well, he got “dressed” in the tent, but she was helping him get his coat and scarf and gloves all on. It was just a glance, so I thought that he was about eight years old. A few minutes later, after dad got out of the tent, I saw him a bit closer.

He was five years old, maximum.
Seriously, he was the same age as my little people. He was tiny. He was cold. He was innocent.

I started to cry – well, teary eyed – I don’t cry in front of coworkers. But, oh! That poor little boy! I felt horrible. And I felt grateful. And I cried later in the day after I talked to my boys. And I hugged them close when I got home that night.

PS – note to volunteers: when you are offering your services to a place like this, drive your “clunker” car. When you drive your Lexus or your Mercedes or your Beemer, you look like you’re rubbing it in.

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