I thought a lot before writing this because I didn't want to seem like I was flapping a super hero cape. Rather I was reminded that we could use a reminder that these "immigrants" have stories, faces, and families.
So... This young 18 YO kid came into the outreach cemter today and only spoke spanish. Everyone was stumped and just shrugged him off. I went over said I spoke poor Spanish but could I help. Kid said he got here via Milwaukee, from El Salvador. His parents got him to the US alone because he is gay and they were terrified he would be hurt or worse. Both his brothers were dead from gang violence. He has no family here. He had a suitcase of clothes, a bunch of government forms and a bare studio apt shared with 2 other people that he had just met.
None of them had a bed, pots, pans, food, NOTHING.
Common sense kicked in and I put together a huge list of agencies that would help him, then pulled laundry soap and some other stuff from my trunk; clothes Chris was going to donate, an old pot, a random fork and spoon I had in my backpack. 10 packs of ramen, a reusable grocery bag, a box of granola bars, some new hygiene stuff from my gym bag. And a clean towel from my gym bag.
Then after finding out he hadn't eaten since yesterday, I gave him my lunch. Here is what amazed me. He was so happy someone was kind to him, he cried.
He cried because he had been here three days and I was the FIRST person who was kind to him. We exchanged emails and he agreed to keep me posted. Everyone was saying "Oh he is so lucky you were here, how nice were you, hope he appreciated it, it was very christian." Here is the thing, that mentality bothers me. How is it extraordinary? Someone is hungry? Here ... food. Cold? Here... blanket. Car broke down? Hop in.
It's not something we should do because of "the season" or "religion" it's something we should do because everyone needs kindness and compassion at some point. We need to be kind and decent to each other.
Chris wants to see if we cant give the kid some other stuff, but first we have to see what agencies will give him. The three kids need beds, a broom, soon winter gear.. here is a thought though..this kid has 2 roomates in the same situation. And more young alone scared kids from other countries in same situation. We won't give this kid money, and we have a rule of not giving money to anyone..instead giving food or things they can use...But there are other kids like this one. Alone, scared, looking for someone to be kind.
Chris and I are looking forward to taking this kid out for lunch in a month and hearing how he is doing. SO to all the immigrant kids alone, scared, and looking for one kind person we wish you the best, Syracuse is a good place full of lots of kind people and we hope you can be happy here.
#dogood #compassion #kindnessiscontagious