Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Almost Midnight

It's almost midnight. We're ready to tell nine guys that they're out of luck, no more shelter in the city of Seattle for them.
The phone rings. "How many guys you send us so far?" one of the shelter workers asks.
That shelter has a stated capacity of 75.
"How many guys are left?"
"OK, go ahead and send them."
Whew. Let there be peace in this place, and peace on the streets.

Friday, January 08, 2010

One Legged Cowboy and the Rat

11:55 pm and the Nightwatch Shelter Dispatch Center was empty. Three of us had made the rounds, delivering socks, blankets, and conversation along the way.

Our security guy, Theo, said "There's one more guy in the bathroom, changing his bandages."


A minute later the One Legged Cowboy comes out of the bathroom. Worker Gwen gives him a shelter placement ticket and explains where to catch the bus to the Millionair Club, a local charity that gives space up for 75 homeless guys from Nightwatch. He's never been homeless before this.

{{sigh}} What can you do?

"Want a ride?" Silly question.

He hops into my beat-up Subaru. "How'd you lose you leg, if you don't mind me asking."


No kidding. Apparently bull-riding is dangerous. His leg was crushed beyond repair. We had a nice conversation. Wonder if he'll call me sometime.

Not every night do you help a one-legged cowboy. And not every night do you run over a rat. Yeah. That happened too. The cowboy was pretty impressed. The rat was caught in the middle of the intersection, froze in my headlights, and a slight swerve was successful, in terms of pest control at least.

This morning the crows are happy, and the one-legged cowboy is hopeful.