Some heroes wear shower caps.
Irene opened the shelter door to a man wearing a face mask. He was in his mid-40s and sweaty, as if he walked to the shelter on foot in the Houston heat. A shower cap was hugging his black, curly hair. The man — Mr. Bailey — had heard about our pet food bank and had come to pick up some kibble and flea preventative for his cat.
It’s March 18, 2020.
Two weeks since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Texas brought life-as-we-know-it to a halt. Our free pet food bank has been active for 13 years (to the tune of 70+ tons distributed), but we have never seen this much foot traffic before.
People of all different backgrounds and ages are coming in — all day — thankful to get food for their pets. It’s one less thing to worry about.
Mr. Bailey clutched the bag of cat food, stuffed the flea preventative into his pocket and was about to leave when he hesitated. He saw that our volunteers were wearing rubber gloves.
“Is there any way I could get a pair of those?”
Irene pulled a pair out of the box and handed them to him. He immediately put them on and left the shelter wearing an expression of relief.
A couple of hours went by before we saw him again at the front door. Between two gloved fingers he was holding a $10 bill. Excitedly, he told us why he was back.
“I was walking back to my place, and was by a gas station when a lady waved at me. She saw me wearing the gloves and asked me if I could pump gas for her. So I said ‘Sure.’ I pumped her gas and she gave me $10! Here’s the $10 — I brought it to you for helping my kitty.”
There we stood, and watched this man who had no transportation except his own two feet, a man who walked a long distance to pick up food for his beloved cat, a man who clearly didn’t have money to spare… slide a $10 bill into the acrylic donation box in our lobby.
Turns out, not all heroes wear capes.
Some wear a face mask, a shower cap and a pair of blue gloves.
Originally published March 19, 2020 on friends4life.org.