I went to the pharmacy the other day to get a prescription filled. While I was standing outside waiting for them to fill it a young man come walking by. He looked up at me nodded his head and said hi. I nodded back and said “Hey, how’s it going”. He said, “I would be lying to you if I told you good, I have to go in here and get my Suboxone and the minute you say that everybody looks at you like you’re scum of the Earth”. Now he didn’t look scary or strung out like the addicts they show on TV but he did look defeated. A few minutes later I went back in and sat down in a chair and was waiting when I few bad decisions but I’m trying”. The pharmacist was being very professional. He never took his eyes off the computer while he was asking questions. Not once did he change facial expressions or the tone of his voice, but I noticed other people looking at him as if he were a leper. He said again, “I’m really not a bad person. I just made some mistakes”. Then to my surprise he looked down at his feet and in a half mumble said, “My Momma loves me.” At that moment, I didn’t see a struggling addict, I saw a child that was hurt and scared and felt all alone. A child reaching his arms out for someone to pick him up and make it all better. That image was so clear in my mind that it broke my heart.
The pharmacist told him what the cost was and another disappointed look came over the young man’s face. Again I saw a child that just found out he had been left behind. He said “I’m sorry I thought it would only be five or six dollars. I don’t have that much”. I stepped up behind him and said “I’ll cover the rest of it”. He turned around with a shocked look on his face and I repeated “I’ll cover the rest.” He said, “No man, you don’t have to do that”. I looked at the pharmacist and said I’ll cover the rest of it. The young man looked at me but had no words. I said, “You don’t have to say anything just take care of yourself.” I placed the money in his hand and walked back over and sat down. It didn’t take long for somebody to make their way over to me and say, “You shouldn’t give them money you better go get it back.” I replied, “That’s between me and him and what he does with it is between him and God”.
I didn’t tell you this because I thought I did something special. The money wasn’t that much. I’m telling you this because, for the first time, I realized how judgmental I was. I live in a neighborhood full of drug addicts. But for the first time I realized that they’re victims of bad decisions. How many of us have made bad decisions? How many of us thought that we could make that big car payment? We could afford that big beautiful house; that we could gamble just this once. How many people thought they could watch a little porn? These too are all bad decisions and they can have devastating effects on our lives and the lives of those close to us. Do I look at all these people the same way I do an addict? Lately, I’ve seen a lot of that little kid in all the faces I see. What a wake-up call!