I encountered Bobby Ocean today. He was on the street. Cold. Hungry. They took his phone and his wallet and his car. I bought him a Subway sandwich, and one for me too. I tried to drive him home, or at least the closest thing to home, but my tire gave up. I tried to fill it with air but the tear just let it back out. Something went wrong with my barely worn tire.
I pulled into an alley and a kind stranger got down on his knees and put on my spare. Cars honked while Bobby Ocean cursed at them. I thanked the stranger and offered him an airport ride, but all he asked was that I pay it forward.
Bobby Ocean started to shake. He was cold still, so I cranked up the heat. He’d slept barely an hour in five days, and his mind was in overdrive. I told him I’d protect him. They won’t find him in my moving car. They can’t see him in the dark. I told him I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to him, and I covered his shaking body with my daughters coat.
I told him that he was safe and could sleep. Then I turned up the volume loud with ocean sounds and falling rain on my Spotify. After several startled movements, he finally drifted to slumber. When he whimpered, I reached over and massaged his tired head. I told him everything is going to be okay, as I drove him down quiet side streets at barely 13 miles an hour, moving over so the occasional car could pass.
I’m parked now, and he is deeply resting at last, and now I wonder… Do you have a Bobby Ocean in your life? Mine is very important to me.