Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday:
I WAS HUNGRY, YOU FED ME.
The man slowly looked up at the woman. Her coat was new. She looked as if she had never missed a meal in her life. A woman clearly accustomed to the finer things in life.
“Are you hungry?” she asked.
His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.
“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”
To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling. Her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.
“Leave me alone,” he growled.
The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.
“What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I told you to leave me alone.”
Just then a policeman appeared from nowhere.
“Is there any problem, ma’am?” the policeman asked.
“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”
The officer scratched his head.
“That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”
“See that cafeteria over there?” she pointed. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”
“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man yelled. “I don’t want to go in there!”
Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.
“Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything,” he moaned.
“This is a good deal for you, Jack. Don’t blow it,” the officer said.
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and seated him at a table in a remote corner. It was the eleven in the morning, and most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.
The manager saw the trio and strode across the cafeteria and stood beside their table.
“What’s going on here, officer? Is this man here to create trouble?” the manager asked.
“Sir, this lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.
“Not in here!” snorted the manager angrily. “Having a person like this here is bad for business.”
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin.
“See, lady. I told you didn’t I? Now can you both let me go? I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
“ The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled.
“Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?” she asked.
“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”
“And don’t you make enough of money catering food at these weekly meetings?”
“What business is that of yours?” the manager retorted.
“I, Sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”
“Oh,” the manager gasped.
The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.”
She glanced at the police officer stifling a giggle and said, “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and something to eat, officer?”
“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”
“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”
“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”
They watched the manager hurrying away.
“You certainly put him in his place,” the police officer said.
“That was not my intent,” she smiled. “Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”
She sat down at the table across from Jack, her bemused dinner guest. She stared at him intently.
“Jack, do you remember me?” she asked.
Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes.
“I think so .. I mean … You do look familiar.”
“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”
“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”
Jack lit up with a smile.
“Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”
“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the cash for my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be alright.”
“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.
“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business, that, with the help of God, prospered.”
She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.
“When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”
Tears welled in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he asked.
“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.
“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today ma’am, something that I will never forget. And … And thank you for the coffee.”
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
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