One night, we’re shopping for ministry materials with our Indian leader, S. We leave the marketplace and go look for a taxi to head home. We start walking down the street. The three of us - Jack, Rob and I - are behind the leader, who is ahead of us by a little bit. It’s a busy night, with lots of pedestrians, lots of motorcycles, lots of animals because it’s India. Suddenly, S. stops and makes a 180-degree turn. He has a concerned look. He walks right past us in the opposite direction, saying something about “Sorry but I need to go take care of something…” He trails off. We are curious.
We look back and S. is helping a homeless man off the side of the road. How did I not notice him before? He’s probably 50 or 60 years old. He looks like he isn’t doing too well. “Help me out, he’s going to get hit by a car if he stays out here,” S. says as we all go back to give him a hand. I pick up the man’s legs, and the S. hooks his arms to pick him up. He is warm to the touch. He probably has a fever. Jack and Rob are looking through their bags for food and water. We move the man to the sidewalk, where we prop him up and try to feed him vitamins, chocolate, anything that he can swallow. He is barely able to move from being so sick.
The man says something in Hindi. His voice is weak. S. tells us the man is cold and needs something to wear. He takes me and marches off to the market to buy some pants and a blanket. The pants cost 30 rupees, the blanket not much more than that. We go back and help him put on the pants, but he refuses. We wrap him up with a blanket and leave him a bottle of water. This is about all we can do, short of bringing him home with us.
Before we leave, a few passersbys stop to thank S. for what he’s doing. S. tells them, I appreciate it, but you guys can be doing this too. The passerbys reply no, we can’t, it’s good that you’re helping, but we don’t do these things. S. is upset. Anyone can take fifteen minutes and some spare change to help a dying man on the street. Even me. And even you.
As we go back, S. explains that the man didn’t get there on accident. He probably has kids and a family. Maybe they got into an argument one day, maybe some folks got really angry, maybe his son dropped him off on the side of the road and drove off. Left him to die. These things happen, he sighs.
We go past the same block a few days later, and the man is gone.
There is something pure about a person that, when recognizing the right thing to do, goes and does it. Right then and there. He doesn’t wait for confirmation, or to see if he won’t change his mind. He doesn’t count on a warm, fuzzy feeling. He doesn’t second-guess whether his motives are right. And he’s not perfect. But he just knows something is wrong - and he goes and makes it right.