As I drove away I realized that with my wife out of town the standard excuse that “I can't endanger my family to help a stranger” couldn't be used. The fact that I might leave an old man to suffer to defend only my property made me feel a bit sick to my stomach. It was more shame than kindness that made me turn my car around.
“Hi, do you have a place to sleep?”
“If you need a warm place to stay tonight, you can stay at my house.”
At first the old man seemed to smile then frowned again. “No thank you.” It was odd to realize that this man who I had so distrusted also viewed me as a potentially dangerous stranger.
“You sure? It's pretty cold.” He nodded. I waved good-bye, “Okay. God Bless.”
The grizzled old man pulled his coat tighter around him. “I have no god but myself. Thank you though.”
I drove home alone, and watched TV until I fell asleep. I used to hate TV, but these days it is my most frequent companion. I'm sure his night on the bench was miserably cold. It is tragic how isolated we have become in the modern world. For social creatures we are extraordinarily distrustful and detached from each other. We shun each other and even shun God. Our individualism doesn't result in much happiness, just coldness.