Matt’s Open Letter to The Man Laying in The Alley @ The Station
As I begin to type this article I have so many emotions running through me. Hi there, and for those of you that don't know me, My name is Matt James and I host the 92 Moose Morning Show here in Augusta, Maine.
This morning as I came into work, something shocking happened. As I pulled my car around the back of the plaza that our station is located in, my headlights swept across what appeared to be a person in the alley. As it turned out, it was in fact a person.
As I got out of the car I quickly realized that it was a middle-aged (slightly older?) male curled up in a ball, covered in urine next to a white plastic bag and only wearing one shoe. In that moment I was convinced I had just driven up on a fatal overdose. I thought he was dead.
I immediately grabbed my phone and called 911. I also notified my co-workers who were already inside and they came out to help. While on the phone with dispatch we were able to determine that the man was indeed breathing. What a relief that was to all of us as we waited for Augusta's first responders.
It was only a matter of a couple minutes until flashing red, white and blue lights filled the alleyway behind 92 Moose. Paramedics began talking loudly to the man trying to get him to stir, but to no avail. Then, one of the firefighters gave a quick blow on the airhorn... that did it. The man came to.
After a brief evaluation and getting him to his feet, the paramedics prepared to load him up to transport to the hospital.
After the patient was stabilized I was informed by Augusta PD that he had just been released from jail and that the white plastic bag that had been next to him contained the personal possessions he'd been released with.
I don't know his name, I don't know his story, I don't know his crimes or his history. But what I do know, is that he's lucky I found him when I did- though likewise I'm also lucky to have found him.
I realize that it's experiences like this that knock us down off our 'take-life-for-granted-high-horse' and bring us down to a level that really makes us think about how others are living around us in our own community.
Did he make choices in his life that inevitably led him to my alley this morning? Maybe.. Was he dealt a crappy hand and has been struggling for years to dig himself out? Maybe.. Do I often think of people like this as a nuisance to society? Far too often, yes.
I get irritated as I have to wait in a line of cars at the rotary because someone is handing a $5 bill to a panhandler and delaying traffic.. Meanwhile I'm leaving a great-paying job to go home and eat Pringles while I catch up on shows from my DVR in a beautiful home.
This morning's incident was a stark reminder that I, nor anyone else, ever knows the stories of those we come in contact with on a daily basis. It is so incredibly easy to chock up people's situations to 'their own choice'. But don't we all deserve a little grace? A little mercy? A little love? I certainly think so. And after this morning, I'm promising myself to show a little more grace, a little more mercy, and a little more love.
I don't know what everyone's story is, or what life events led to them laying in a puddle of their own urine in an Augusta alley in October.. but what I do know is that whoever that man's momma is would love nothing more than someone to show her baby some grace. So today, and everyday, I'm going to do just that.
To whoever you are, sir, I hope you get the help you need and that your life becomes everything you, and your momma, hoped it would.
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