I met Joelle today; a homeless woman sitting on a sidewalk between two of the most expensive hotels in Vegas. Joelle and her dog were sitting in the shade watching people go by and had a tiny jar with coins in it. Her sign said, "Whatever you can afford, helps."
I walked up to her, kneeled to pet her Pomerian-mix dog and began to talk with her. We talked about how her dance instructor career had recently ended and she quickly found that getting a job in Vegas is harder than she thought. Apparently no show wants to hire a traditional dance instructor in Vegas; they all want trainers who know how to get people to fly through the air via invisible clotheslines. She trained a few famous people--yes, I knew them when she mentioned their names--and never imagined her life would lead her to be on this sidewalk.
I told her my favorite name has always been Joelle and that when I was a teenager, I imagined naming my daughter Joelle. She smiled and said, "Really? I've never heard anyone with that name before and you wanted to name your child that?" Joelle and I had a few more brief minutes together and we prayed. I gave her some money and she asked, "Are you sure?" I looked into her tearful eyes and replied, "So very sure."
God saw Joelle today. And my day is so much brighter for having met her.
Just after I left Joelle, I continued to walk toward my hotel. On my way was a 20-something, clean cut guy wearing oversized board shorts and no shirt. He was lying on the scorching sidewalk, his eyes hiding behind his Ray Bans. He was so drunk that he couldn't respond to the two policemen asking if he was ok. Eventually, he muttered something to them and they told him, "If you don't get up off this sidewalk, we're taking you either to the hospital or jail." The guy eventually got up saying, "I'm up. I'm up. I'm good...can I go back to the pool now?"
Two people on the same sidewalk in Vegas with very different stories.
Both make me cry but in very different ways.