I grew up in a family where serving others is a major part of what we do. We are constantly all year long doing something to serve the community, whether it be Easter Egg Hunts, 4th of July, Fireworks at the Fair, or Sub for Santa. So why did it take a friend of mine to make me realize that I need to take a HUGE step back and think about the way I treat others. I don't know if anyone really thinks about it, but the people that we serve at Christmas time doing Sub for Santa still have problems after the holiday has come and gone. My friend recently taught me that it doesn't matter what they look like on the outside, they are still human beings who deserve to be treated the same way we would treat our family and closest friends. Here is the story... after lunch one day last week, we were on our way back to work when we passed two guys walking up Altamont highway. Grocery bags in arms and thumbs sticking out, looking for a ride. My first instict and thoughts were, oh please don't stop and pick them up. Luckily my dreams came true and my friend kept driving. However, this is not where the story ends. My friend knew who these two men were and told me that she felt bad that they had so far to walk to get home. Being quick to judge I said, well then go pick them up and we'll lysol your truck after we drop them off. She said, no, I can't, you'll judge me. I immediately felt like a complete idiot! I had cast the first stone at these men because of the way they looked. I quickly said I wouldn't judge her and we should go get them and take them where ever they needed to go. She made me swear that I wouldn't tell anyone that she picked up some hitch hikers. I promised and we flipped around to go get them. We pulled over to the side of the road, she rolled down the window and asked if they needed a ride and they climbed in. I instantly held my breath, these two men smelled like cigarette smoke and dirt. She asked where to and they told us that Tabby turnoff would be great because they had hidden some stuff there to take home. We started up the road and I listened as my friend asked them all sorts of questions, about their family, there home, what they were doing back out in the basin. I listened as they told of how they had come back to the basin to look for work, and how they were going to go out looking for wood when they got home because someone had gone to their home and taken their stack of wood they had outside. They kept telling her how greatful they were for the short ride because it was so cold outside. We came up to their stop, climbed out and they thanked her again for the ride. And I watched these men as they went to the place they had hidden their items and began their walk toward their home through some snowcovered sagebrush, wearing coats with holes in them and shoes that were not made for trudging through the snow. My friend told me of how things had become really hard for their family after their mom passed away, and how they had to save for everything they had. I apologized for the way that I had passed judgement so quickly and we got back to our office and the conversation about these men had stopped and we got back to work. But the thought has stayed with me since this day... what gave me the right to judge these people? Why did I have to immediately think that I was so better than them? Was it because I had a vehicle? A warm home? Money in my pocket? I guess so. Now I am not saying that picking up hitch hikers is always a good thing. But if you see someone walking that you know, maybe pull over and ask if they need a ride. You never know what kind of a day or circumstance put them in that predicament. These men did not harm me, or pass judgement on me. I didn't even know them. I am not any better than they. I might have a few more worldly belongings, but these two men and my friend taught me a great lesson... quit looking at the outward appearance! Smile and say hello to everyone, no matter what they are wearing, what their hair looks like that day, what they smell like. That small act might make all the difference to them. I would like to tell my friend thank you. I will always remember that day and I am proud to call you my friend.
"Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward cappearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7