The good Samaritans

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They are doing God’s work. We’re talking about those good Samaritans who do not shy away from lending a helping hand to a fallen brother or sister. They will go out into the dark corners to provide a sandwich to the hungry, a hot meal to the destitute, a warm blanket to the homeless. They search for them down at Dickie Lake’s. They seek them out on an old bench in the Botanical Gardens. They look for them under awnings at many of the abandoned buildings in the city.  For example, the less fortunate can be seen sleeping on the steps of the old dry cleaners building at the corner of High and Temple Street, or at the old Canadian Imperial Bank building on High Street and Corn Alley, or in an old container west of the West Bus Station. The good Samaritans have dedicated their lives to assisting these folks, the downtrodden and the less fortunate.  Matthew 25:35 in the Holy Scriptures is a testimonial to their good deeds: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Not surprisingly, our hearts were warmed and inspired by Mary John’s recent act of love and kindness meted out to a young man who was really down on his luck, dressed in filthy rags, and begging for sustenance at the Percival’s Service Station on Fort Road. We’re all familiar with him, a frightening sight. Some of us would cross the road to avoid him. Others of us averted our eyes. Still others would politely pretend that he was not there. We would turn up our car windows quickly, to prevent any interaction. We just did not want our beautiful day to be interrupted by this homeless, menacing-looking vagrant.

But not our dear Mary John, she of the tireless effort to help those who have fallen victim to the hard knocks of life. And certainly not an earnest young man named Leslie ‘Tony’ Gomes, who selflessly assisted Mary in her labour of love. Mary and Tony sought out the vagrant, Danille Whyte is his name, all of thirty-six years old, and they took him to the beach, holding his hands affectionately, giving him a bath. Mary then took him to her place and gave him another bath, scrubbing him vigorously. She shaved him, revealing his youthful, handsome features. Tony washed his matted hair. Mary cut his fingernails and his toe nails, sitting on the ground in front of him with a basin of warm water to soak his grimy, calloused feet. She scrubbed the dead skin from his feet. She dressed him in fresh, clean clothes and a new pair of slippers, and yes, she sat and dined with him on the best meal that he’d had in a long time. Most importantly, she showered him with love. She spoke gently and soothingly to him. She made him feel that someone cares about his plight. It must have done wonders for his fragile and jaded psyche. And in all of this, she was ably assisted by Tony Gomes.

Needless to say, not many of us would do what Mary and Tony did. We would give alms to the poor, but we would prefer that they remain nameless and faceless. We would be quite charitable in our giving, but we would eschew a personal interaction with the needy. Better that they remain shrouded in the shadows, far away from our hifalutin lives of comfort and ease.

But they have a soul – the homeless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the beggars. These are all God’s children, “And as much as we have done it unto one of the least of these, we have done it unto the heavenly Father.” May our hearts be touched. May we be inspired and moved to do something, be it ever so small, for those who are disconsolate and downtrodden. Those who are at the point of giving up on life. Those who are mentally afflicted. Remember folks, “There but for the grace of God, go some of us.”

Here’s a call to the Ministry of Social Transformation folks to redouble their efforts at helping those who have fallen on hard times. We urge them to pool their resources and work collaboratively with good folk like Mary John. Her work on behalf of the down-and-out is all voluntary. There is no financial gain in her labour on behalf of the destitute. Indeed, her only reward is the joy and satisfaction and inner peace that comes from knowing that she did her best for someone who desperately needed help.  And by the way, she deserves to be officially recognised and honoured for her unstinting effort on behalf of abuse victims, runaways, drug addicts and others who have been preyed upon by the ravening wolves in our society.

We here at NEWSCO understand that the police cleaned up Danille about seven years ago, but on account of a lack of follow-up, he reverted to his old ways. Fortunately, this time around, Mary was able to get a doctor to examine Danille yesterday afternoon, and he’s been scheduled for blood work and a CT scan. She will be taking him to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre on Friday morning for those. Meds were also prescribed, which he is required to take twice per day, in the mornings and again in the evenings. Danille has a distended abdomen which is very hard. The doctors believe that he has a cyst or a hernia. He also has a very bad fungus infection on both feet, and Mary has been treating that with warm water, listerine, white vinegar and an anti-fungal cream. Mary reports that he has all sorts of foreign objects in his heavily matted hair, in his gums and on various parts of his body. It took six shampoos to wash his hair, and even after that, it was still rather dirty. His hair obviously needs to be cut, but he is resisting that. Hopefully, he’ll come around. Let us pray for him.

We wish to salute Mary John. We are enormously proud of her sacrificial and selfless work. May she never be weary in well-doing. And may we take a cue from her, may we be inspired to do our bit for those in need. Hail Mary, full of grace and compassion. And big-up to the man, Tony Gomes.

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