05/05/2008. 1017. I was doing a late-nighter at the 24/7 laundromat. The previous time I was there, a street-person hit me up just as I was getting into my car, and discombobulated me (which is usually their intention) such that I didn’t give them anything except money.
This week, I had just put the soap and fabric softener back in the car and was walking back towards the front door, a man on a bicycle hit me up for “bus fare.” He smelled of alcohol too, but technically could have been telling the truth since many Indianapolis buses have bike-racks on the front of them.A post on the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog
popped into mind, so I reached into my pocket and got out some change (I still had an excess of quarters). I told him I liked to give out Bibles, and asked if he needed a Bible. He said he had three Bibles at home. I said that’s great, and that our church believes in the both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and I asked if he’d like a free Book of Mormon too.
He got a curious look on his face. I forget his immediate answer, but I felt it was appropriate to go back and get out a copy from my car. I gave him the quarters, and presented the Book of Mormon, which he accepted. He invited me to accompany him into the laundromat in the waiting area up front, and he asked me what it’s about. I responded with a quick sound-bite about believing in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Another Testament, which is the third testament of Christ.
I believed he wasn’t going to be welcomed into the laundromat since he wasn’t a customer, smelled of alcohol, and they are picky about non-customers using the restrooms etc.
Besides, even though many alcoholics have a high tolerance level of alcohol, and can appear to be lucid (as he mostly was) when they have a high blood-alcohol percentage (it was coming out of the pores of his skin) there’s no good in preaching or sharing the gospel with someone who is under the influence. The best you can do is give them something (card, flyer, pamphlet, etc) that they can use to follow-up with when they sober up and if they're still interested when they’re sober. He was sober enough to ride a bike, so calling the police wasn’t needed, and getting himself home was up to him.
I think the best I could do was give him his $1, and get the book in his hands (and get him out of the laundromat), hoping that if he didn’t keep it and read it later, he’d pass it along (or even sell it, I don’t care) to someone who might really read it.
So after the “donations” and the sound-bite, I excused myself and went back to check on my wash, and then he left.
The BoM I gave him was in a plastic ziplock bag, was marked inside, had 2 pass-along cards in it, and a flyer listing the addresses of the local chapels with meeting times.
Labels: beggar, English, laundromat