It happened to me again. A desperate woman crossed my path last night at a Mc Donalds drive-thru. The woman from Friday is still resonating in my bones and I look for her every time I drive around, wondering if she is home in a house or home in a park.
I was picking my daughter up, it was about 9:30 PM. I was in the the city, not our little home town. I had just pulled up to the window waiting to pick up my food, when this woman holding an umbrella came up to the passenger window. She motioned with her hands, but I didn't know what she meant.
This may seem rude, but it was 9:30 and raining, and I was in East Los Angeles. I had to act with my Street Smart Hat on. I really hate putting that hat on. Sometimes that hat acts as a filter for what your heart would really like to do.
She came over to my window, she was Hispanic, dressed simple, and she had a very nice umbrella. "Excuse me Mam, me, my daughter we are running away from my husband. Look at my head."
She tilted the umbrella so I could see the top of her head. She had her hair in a ponytail so it was easy to see her scalp. I did see a little red spot, maybe a bit of blood. In that split second the "Bobby" from Law and Order, Criminal Intent in me thought, 'Well, that does not look like too fresh of a would, and it also looks like it could have been from bumping her head, not being hit with an object.' Ha! Who did I think I was?
The Mc Donald man handed me my milkshake and she quickly retreated behind a bush. When I pulled forward she came back out. "Please can you help us, anything?" I have been around long enough to keep that stupid street smart hat on and listen to those that say do not give money to peddlers; we do not want them buying drugs. I also know that the majority of our homeless are mentally ill.
When you are mentally ill yourself it is impossible to not feel intense empathy. As a woman and a mother I can not turn my head on another mother.
I asked her what kind of help she wanted, money? She said yes. I only had two dollars, so I gave it to her. She took off and before I could get my car turned around I couldn't find her. Should I call the police? Was she legit?
Should I have done more? Twice now, should I have done more? I do not know. We have a desperate need for mental health care reform. Is it suppose to start with me?