Yesterday was my Friday afternoon Lyft gig. I picked Greg up on S. Santa Fe at a warehouse. He was headed to the north end of downtown. He engaged me right away in the “how long have you been driving for Lyft, do you like it, what did you do before this”? questions. It opened up what he does. He works for a non profit that provides portable showers and laundry for homeless folk. “It’s a point of connection to try to get them off the streets and back to work. We are having some success”. We were headed to a United Way Center which is located in the center of both rapid gentrification and a growing population of homeless folk who stay in the many shelters and “camp” in every nook and cranny. I have seen this situation grow exponentially in my four years of Lyfting
I no more than dropped him off than I got a ping at the same facility but a different entrance. I was called by a man who explained that I was picking up a United Way client and taking her to an emergency shelter on E. Colfax. He met me in the drive through drop off zone. He introduced me to a young woman who had a number of bandages on her head. Her eyes showed fear and sadness. We talked for a moment and I assured him I was comfortable with the 15 minute ride. She got in the back seat but I had a clear view of her tears.
We drove silently through the streets of north Capital Hill. I was playing Coffee House on my Sirius radio. I don’t know the song but it was the soft sweet voice coming out my back seat that was filling in the space of our silence. I could see her bruised face on her 20-something body as her lips sang the words. It was hard not to say anything but I think she just needed to sing. We pulled up to the emergency shelter. She grabbed her backpack and got out of the car. All I could say was “Take care of yourself and thanks for sharing the song”. She has a name… it’s Shelby.
Onward and Upward, Mark