Thursday’s Child  

Posted by Brock Booher

It isn’t everyday I get approached by a young woman in the supermarket, especially when I’m sporting three days worth of stubble, with a touch of gray, but this was a Thursday.

I saw her as she turned down my aisle. I was looking for some waffle mix and glanced up as I saw her turn the corner. She looked like a skinny preteen in a yellow halter-top and white shorts. Other than basic awareness that she was walking down my aisle, I paid her little mind.

“Excuse me sir,” she said in a sad voice. She had stopped right beside me.

Due to years of training on situational awareness, or maybe an innate paranoia, I am normally very observant of my surroundings. I didn’t realize she had stopped until she spoke to me. I paused my comparison of Bisquick and Krusteaz and looked up at her.

“Sorry to trouble you, but you wouldn’t be willing to give me some money for a hotel room would you?” she asked. She hesitated for moment after the request.

In that moment I took a good look at the human being in front of me. She was average build and thin with long spindly legs like a bird. She had the face of someone in their late twenties and the body of an early teenager. Her face had no remnants of makeup and she looked a bit haggard even though she was trying to smile. Her hair was up in a ponytail and frizzed out like she had just jumped out of bed and pulled it back away from her hollow eyes. She wore a yellow halter-top with her bra straps showing, but based on her figure, the straps weren’t working too hard. She wore white shorts and flip-flops. In her right hand she held a large Styrofoam cup, apparently with soda still in it. She had a medium size purse in the crook of her left arm. She looked like a forlorn waif, a veritable Thursday’s Child personified.

She continued with a voice pleading and soft, “I need some money for a hotel room because I was traveling with a friend, and she stole all of my money, over $1200. You wouldn’t be able to spare some money so I can get a room for the night would you?”

I wanted to give her some money. I don’t like turning away anyone in need, especially a woman. All that is good in me wanted to help, and the pity I felt jumped up in my throat. Here is one of God’s children in need. Help her! Cried the voice in my head.

Another voice was talking in my head as well. Careful! This one is trouble. Nothing is as it seems. See the nice purse. See the soda from recent meal. Look at her eyes. Beware the nature of the thing she asks for.

Caution won out and I smiled and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t.”

“Okay, thanks,” she said without any apparent rancor and continued down the aisle.

Guilt-ridden, I turned away and stared at the boxes in front of me covered with bright colored pictures of delicious waffles and pancakes topped with strawberries and blueberries and smothered with hot syrup. My stomach turned when I thought about her condition.

I called out to her before she got too far. “Do you need any food?” I asked.

She stopped, turned halfway around, and finished taking a sip from her drink. “No, another gentleman bought me lunch.”

I nodded. She turned and continued. Thursday’s Child has far to go.

I stared at the shelves of packaged food in front of me trying to make sense of what had just happened, a conflict raging inside of me.

I should have given her money. Didn’t you see how skinny she was?

You idiot she was playing you. Didn’t you see the hard look of a druggie on her face?

Who cares? She needed money and I could have spared a five spot.

You would have just enabled her. She needs a different kind of help.

I could have at least gone to the hotel and paid for the room for her.

Fool! That is probably what she wanted anyway. She was soliciting you, you moron!

Oh my gosh! She must really be in trouble. Maybe she’s a runaway. I have to find her and see if I can help her. Maybe I can get her the help she really needs.

Now you’re talking.

I searched the store – nothing. I quickly checked out and searched the parking lot – gone.

My encounter with Thursday’s Child haunted me. I wondered how far she had come to get to her desperate condition. Even more, I wondered how far she had to go.

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child must work for a living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.

(Old Nursery Rhyme, Author Unknown)

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at Sunday, September 25, 2011 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 comments

Brock I have endured the same thing. I had a guy state that he was hungry. When I gave him money he went into the store and when I came out with groceries he was eating a bologna sandwich. I work close to the Jefferson Street Bridge and I see lots of homeless. There are also the scam artists so you have to judge for yourself and don't beat yourself up too much.

September 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I also have been around many that ask me for money or food. This last time I was with a group of ladies at Underground Atlanta Restaurant(our kids were practicing for the Atlanta Temple Multi-Cultural Dance) and we were at our table and was approached by a very sad looking man with long facial hair, raggy clothes and smelled like he hadn't taken a bath in a very long time. He asked for french fries, the other ladies had never lived in a large city (as I have) and was not accustomed to this and looked at me in fear, I immediately handed him our plate of fries and told him I hope they fill him up. He thanked me and went to a table. He had been turned down by other tables. The ladies at my table were still getting over the shock of it all and were amazed that I quickly knew what to do (I explained this has happened before). My only regret is that I didn't order him a burger and a drink....That day on my travels from Birmingham to Atlanta, I had already given out almost $20 to people on the side of the interstate. This was money that I did not have extra, but a wise Bishop taught me a lesson I will never forget. After one of our temple trips in Atlanta, there was a homeless person asking for money and he gave him $5. I said he will probably use it on liquor or beer. The Bishop said to me, he may or may not, but H.Father has given me all I have and therefore I must give. It is not up to me if he uses it for good or bad, but it was up to me to choose to give. I will receive blessings for doing the right thing. I know there is a scripture that goes along with this, that I can't seem to find this morning, but I have never forgotten that lesson. I would personally rather give food than money and share of my many blessings but at times I have given out small amounts of money.

Well I was born on Thursday, so I guess I am a Thursday's Child---yes I have far to go!

November 10, 2011 at 6:02 AM

Post a Comment