Posted by: JennyRain | May 17, 2007

Modern-day Samaritan

“I tried to get help at three churches, but I don’t think they like my kind.” “They don’t like my kind either, son.”

SIX MONTHS AGO a destitute man used his last pennies to get to a small town outside of Washington, D.C., hoping to find some landscaping work.

He hadn’t worked in days, or eaten for that matter, yet he arrived hopeful with one set of dirty clothes on his back, and the other set in a laundry basket on his passenger seat. After hours of driving around hearing “no” from potential employers, the man entered a church in hopes that if he washed at least one set of clothes, he might have better luck with employers.

He inquired at the church, but found there a stern-faced, gray-haired woman.

“No, I’m sorry,” she replied curtly. “Our washers are not open to the public. You will have to go elsewhere.”

The man left the church dejected and attempted the church across the street; he got the same reply: “No.”

 Not sure how to proceed, he saw a church steeple down the block, beckoning him. Third time’s the charm. The only person available there was a janitor who seemed down on his luck himself. He said he wasn’t allowed to open the laundry room to “outsiders.”

TIRED, HUNGRY, DIRTY and broke, the man wandered slowly back to his car. Almost on cue, an older gentleman named George came out of a nearby electronics store with a large package and a smile on his face.

“Excuse me, sir,” the younger gentleman said. “Could I bother you for a favor?”

George took one look at the gaunt young man and his heart went out to him. But he wasn’t in the habit of stopping for people looking for help; this area of the city had a horrible crime problem and the last thing he needed was to be mugged.

And he had spent so much time researching and waiting for the special purchase in his arms, he wasn’t interested in the distraction.

“What can I do for you?” George asked.

“Well, I attempted to come into town and find work but haven’t had much luck. I spent my last money on gas getting here, so I’m not sure how I’m going to get home. Do you maybe have a five-dollar bill that I can refill my tank and do my wash? I tried the three churches over there, but I don’t think they like my kind.”

George looked intently at the man and thought to himself, “They don’t like my kind either, son, so we have something in common.”

“When was the last time you ate?” George asked, out loud.

The young man looked to his feet before responding, “Forty-eight hours ago, sir. But I am OK. I just need some money to get home and try again tomorrow.”

George immediately grabbed for his wallet and saw a $20 bill float to the surface. He was bewildered at first, because he thought he had spent all of his cash on his Christmas purchases.

George handed the young man the $20 bill.
“How about taking this and getting something to get you fed, get your clothes clean, and then get yourself home? Can’t work hard if you don’t have any energy, right? Then you can worry about getting your clothing cleaned.”

The young man thanked George over and over and tore straight into the McDonald’s across the street. George sat in his car mesmerized, as the young man gulped down his lunch before zipping next door to the Laundromat.

George was profoundly changed by the experience. He believed God had placed him there on this day for a special purpose, to serve a person he didn’t even know.

For that brief five-minute exchange, he forgot that he was a gay father who had struggled with alcohol and drug dependency issues. He forgot that he had been rejected by the majority of people he came in contact with.

Modern day Samaritans come in shapes and sizes that most people don’t expect. They know the stigma of rejection, but they follow their hearts — not their stereotypes.

And George’s purchase? Well, that was for his daughter, who now has the distinct privilege of telling her father’s true story to whoever will listen.

Happy Birthday dad!


Previously Published: Modern Day Samaritan…
All writings on this blog copyrighted by author 5.17.2007.



  1. Jenny,

    You profoundly touch me with this story of rejection and acceptance. I am again reminded of my own self-righteousness that seeps to the surface when I least expect it to. Too often I have examined myself against others my religion calls sinners.

    What few seem to realize is that none of us are the perfect children of our Father that we seem to believe we are, but we all have the blood of the Samaritan, the outcast and sinner, flowing in our veins. It is time we stop hiding our imperfections behind our Levitical and Priestly garments thinking no one will notice. Perhaps more of us might consider walking in the ditch rather than in the road. That is where we belong. The road becomes too comfortable, and the longer we walk in it the more difficult it is to climb down in that ditch.

    Keith Vaughn

  2. […] of my first writing attempts, the Modern Day Samaritan was picked up by a Christian online magazine. It is a magazine I still believe is impacting hearts […]

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