Wayne Weekly “The Otter”

Written by on April 24, 2018

The “Otter”

While picking up supplies at a local drugstore this past week I noticed some commotion going on at the front checkout. A shabbily dressed man was reeling back and forth while withdrawing payment from his wallet. His concentrated effort reminded me of putting the final playing card on top of a teetering house of cards. The cashier was watching and apparently had attracted the help of the store manager. He was standing alongside of her watching the floundering customer as he attempted to make his purchase. The man was intoxicated, and he called himself…”Otter”.

I knew his name because “Otter” later introduced himself to me and my wife Evie.

Evie and I had completed our shopping, cashed out and hopped into the car. Just as I was about to drive off, Evie abruptly shouted that this man had just fallen on the sidewalk. I glanced up and saw that it was none other than “Otter”. In a few moments, while I processed the situation, the man rose to his feet (kind of), and headed into the Chinese food pick-up store. As my wife and I fastened our seatbelts, spoke about what we just witnessed, and backed out of my parking space, it had been a few minutes since “Otter” had entered the Chinese restaurant. I slowly drove alongside the front of the strip mall toward the lot exit. Just as I was about to pull out into the street, Evie and I noticed that “Otter” had fallen again and was laying at the bottom of some concrete stairs.

I stopped the car, opened my door and got out to see if the man was hurt or maybe worse. He just lay there, his packages strewed around his crumpled body. “Are you all right?” I asked with some alarm in my voice. He muttered some words. Again I spoke, “Should I call for help, should I call 911?” More muttering, but now starting to sit up. I held out my arm and helped him. Once somewhat stabilized, I began to gather up his packages. “That’s my supper!” Otter said with a mixture of anger and concern in his slurred speech. “I know, I’m just picking it up for you. Do you need a ride somewhere, are you going home?” I said.

After some coaxing, I helped “Otter” into my vehicle, asked where he lived, and drove him home. After arriving, I realized that I had seen this man on his front porch. It was the local route I normally took to leave for work. I even recalled once or twice praying for him and those around him.

Helping Otter out of the back seat, he seemed to come alive a bit and seemed much more attentive to the situation. I knew he needed to get into the house, and as I helped him set off to make the short journey, I let Otter know that God wants him to draw near to Jesus, and perhaps a few other words. Otter acknowledged and we had a short discussion about God things.

Otter said thank you to me, and I watched him until he entered his front door.

I plan to stop in and see the Otter. I pray his next “fall” will be in love with Jesus.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Romans 1:16

 


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