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“See you tomorrow Allison. Stay warm!”
“Yeah that’s hard to do when it’s twenty degrees outside, Janet.”
“Ha-ha I know. Just think Hawaii.”
“If only I really was in Hawaii.”
Allison walks to her car all bundled up and hunched over, trying to shield herself from the cold. She throws her belongings into the car and starts it. She lets the car warm up for a few minutes than blasts the heat. Allison pulls out of the parking lot and is driving on the road to head on her journey home. As she’s driving she sees people hunching over trying to stay warm. Allison sees many homeless people out on the streets warming themselves at fires in garbage cans and trying to stay warm themselves with the few clothes they have on their backs.
“Maybe I shouldn’t complain as much as I do. At least I have it a little better off than they do,” she thinks to herself.
She turns onto her street and sees smoke flying up from peoples’ houses burning wood to try and keep warm. Allison notices something rather large on her front porch when she pulls up her driveway. “I must be so tired that I’m seeing things,” she says to herself. As she turns her car off, she sees the rather large looking thing on her porch disperse and a man starts walking to her as she gets out of her car.
“Hello mam. Good evening. How are you?”
“I’m fine,” answers Allison questionably.
“That’s great. My name is Garrett. I don’t mean to impose on you, but you see it’s very cold out this evening and well my family and I, (he turns and points to what looks to be his wife and daughter) are struggling with these frigid temperatures we are having. I know his seems like an awful lot to ask of you but would you mind if my family and I
stay with you tonight? We won’t get in your way at all. I promise. It’s just that this cold is really hard on my little girl and we noticed from your outdoor decor that you seemed like a very welcoming lady. We don’t need much. The floor would do fine. We just need some warmth for at least a night and all the homeless shelters are full.”
Allison can’t believe what she is hearing. She’s puzzled. She must be more tired that she thought. Allison looks over to the wife and daughter and sees how the little girl looks blue from the cold. Allison can’t let this family go and possibly die in these conditions, especially not that little girl who has not yet experienced life.
“Alright. I’ll let you and your family stay the night.”
“Oh thank you, thank you ma’am, we wont be any burden I assure you of that.”
The man turns around with this huge grin on his face towards his family, who respond back with even bigger smiles. Allison opens up her back door and gathers her belongings and walks to the door with the gentlemen.
“I better not be doing the wrong thing here,” Allison thinks.
“Marie this is …… oh I’m sorry. What’s your name?”
“Awh Allison. Marie this is Allison and over here is my daughter Abigail.”
“Hi, hello,” greets Allison.
“Thank you so much for doing this for my family, to complete strangers. You don’t know how much this means to us.”
“I’m just doing what I hope others would do for me.”
Allison pulls out her keys from her purse and unlocks the door. She holds the door open while the family walks in.
“Oh what a lovely house you have here! It’s so homey!”
“Well, thank you. Here let’s have you three take off those wet coats of yours. I’ll turn the fireplace on so you guys can warm up a little faster.”
“Oh that would be grand Allison, thank you,” responds Garrett.
Allison notices that the little girl is hesitant about taking her coat off but her father explains to her that’s its alright. It won’t be going anywhere; it’s safe here. Allison walks over to the fireplace and turns it on.
“You guys can sit around the fireplace. I’ll go get some blankets out of the closet.”
Allison brings back three, large wool blankets and hands them out to the family.
“Is there anything I can get you guys? Something warm to drink or eat?”
“Oh no that’s fine. Really. We don’t want to impose,” says Marie.
“Oh no really it’s alright with me. No problem at all. Would Abigail like some hot chocolate?”
“It’s alright, sweetie, you can have some if you like.”
“Yes, please,” answers Abigail shyly.
Allison goes into the kitchen and puts a pot of water on the stove. She takes a mug for Abigail then reaches up and gets out two more. She opens up her fridge and takes out some leftovers from the night before and heats them up as well. Allison fills up three mugs with chocolate mix and pours the water in. She puts marshmallows in the little girls mug.
“Oh Allison this is too much. Really we don’t need all this,” says Garrett.
“Oh no its no hassle at all.” She unloads the mugs, from the tray and hands them to the family.
She hands the little girl her mug and she takes it, hesitating. When Abigail sees the marshmallows her face lights up.
“I suppose you are a little interested about us, aren’t you, Allison,” asks Marie.
“Oh no not really. You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to.”
“You should at least know who you are letting stay in your home.”
Marie begins telling their life story and how they got to be homeless. Garrett lost his job and Marie never worked, she was a stay at home mom for Abigail. Then the bills began to pile up and they couldn’t pay for them. They ended up having to sell their car than their home, leaving them with nothing but the few belongings they could carry. Abigail had to drop out of school, the thing she loved more than anything. They began traveling from homeless shelter after homeless shelter but not all would accept kids and they weren’t allowed to stay more than a couple of nights. They found themselves having no place to go and with the temperatures getting colder and colder, they could not keep sleeping outside. So Garrett suggested that they find a nice welcoming home, in a nice neighborhood and ask to spend the night.
“We found your house and decided to sit and wait for you to get home when you did twenty minutes later.”
“Wow I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t need to say anything. The fact that there are people still out there willing to take a homeless family into their home is great enough.”
The three adults stay up for hours after Abigail has fallen asleep, sharing good times and tough times with both of their families. When it was finally time to call it a night, Garrett and Marie thanked Allison again for letting them stay. As Allison was cleaning up dishes in the kitchen she watched the family kiss each other and say a little prayer to God. When she saw them and how they still stuck together through everything and never gave up, she knew she wanted to do something to this loving family. When Allison crawled into her bed that night she didn’t go to bed right away, but instead came up with a list of things to do to help get this family back on track. Although they were complete strangers to her she felt that this could happen to anyone that she knows, even herself, Allison had this need to do something for them, to keep that hope up they have been carry around all this time to really create and produce a new beginning for them. To lend a hand to a family who has fallen into a hole to help dig them back up to the surface. A little hope can go a long way.