I was in the drive-thru line at Chick-Fil-A placing my order when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone waving from a car in the other lane. At first glance, it appeared to be a typical suburban mom taking her kids through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A in their SUV. As I looked more closely, I realize there was much more to this story. The woman waving was a former client with whom MUST walked through some of the darkest times of her life.
She first came to MUST seeking rental assistance for a trailer that had holes in the floor through which you could see the ground, but it was all she could afford. She came regularly for food and for clothing for herself and her two children. What followed was a series of jobs gained (a least one with MUST's help) and lost, "sofa hopping" with her kids when the trailer park was closed down, an unplanned pregnancy with her ex, hiding from DFACS so her kids wouldn't be taken, all the while coming to MUST for food, clothing, baby supplies, housing assistance and referrals for healthcare. I couldn't figure out why she couldn't stay stable until one day I received a phone call from her.
"I've been accepted into a 9-month long residential drug rehab program in Dekalb Co.," she said. "Last night I prayed, Lord I can't do this anymore. Either take me out tonight or show me a way out. I got a call this morning that I was accepted. They will hold the spot for me for 2 days but I don't have a way to get there. I have a friend who might take me, but they will need gas money and I don't have any money. I'm afraid I'll miss out on this chance to finally get sober. Can you help?" After researching a few different possibilities, we were able to give her a donated gas card and she made it to the facility.
Over the next year, we would occasionally get a phone call or email- I got phone privileges, I got a job, I am doing well and getting stronger, I am graduating from the program, I got a car, I have a place to live, I've been reunited with my kids, thanks to MUST for sticking by me. The last time we heard from her she was seeking a referral for affordable dental care so that she could have her front teeth repaired from the damage done by years of drug abuse.
Knowing the journey she had taken and how MUST had assisted her with its full array of services, it was a special joy to see her smiling and looking like a "typical suburban mom". I was also struck by the realization that as we come into contact with people each day we don't know their story either, so always be kind- you never know what someone has been through or is going through.