Lynn is 60 years old and originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She moved out to the Olympic Peninsula so she could be closer to her parents when they retired. Although she spent most of her working years in childcare, she did spend 2-1/2 years teaching conversational English in Japan and counts that as her favorite work memory. She loved the people, their friendly attitude, and how they welcomed her into their world.
She didn’t want her face photographed not only for privacy reasons, but also because she is quite shy. Lynn is always quick to greet me when I arrive at the shelter every week and the first to ask how I’m doing. When COVID clears, she’s promised to teach me how to play Spider Solitaire, which is not at all like the traditional solitaire game we all know. (I’ve since learned there are over 500 types of solitaire, many of which Lynn knows!)
Her message to everyone about homeless people is straightforward: “I want people to know that we’re human. Please treat us that way. We’re just like you. We’re harmless. Harmless. The things that you have – like clean laundry, clean socks – we’d like to have those luxuries, too. Treat us the way you treat yourselves.”
The first night we delivered dinners to the shelter, she held the door open for us, looked me square in the eye, and said, “God bless you. Really. God bless you.”
Lynn wasn’t just saying this to me – she was saying it to all of you as well. To everyone who’s been able to help either financially, or by sharing these stories – or even simply by being a bit kinder to the homeless person you always try to avoid on the street – to all of you, I pass along her message: God bless you.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”