Anybody in the direct service world knows the joy of the unexpected return of the prodigal client…that person who had it all together, who had triumphed over incalculable odds, but who flames out/self-destructs at the last moment…and then wanders back into the wilderness of drugs, prison or the street.
You sigh…you pray…you jump into the next crisis…and weeks, months and even years can drift by when, suddenly, they show up…clean, confident and full of thanks for the journey.
Another variation of that happened to me.
I was visiting Freshology last Friday, a great high-end meal delivery business here in L.A., when out of the clear blue sky, I hear my name being called out. As I turned, I immediately recognized Andrew, a D.C. Central Kitchen grad, former employee and a dear, dear, dear old friend.
Andrew was part of a bygone era at the Kitchen, when a very small team was managing tremendous growth. It was in the mid-90’s and we were serving 4,000 meals a day, launching a catering company, buying new vans, managing thousands of volunteers and helping other organizations replicate our model…and Andrew, God Bless him, was right there in the thick of it.
Anyway…about 10 years ago, Andrew decided to move on, and out to live with family in California…so I guess I knew he was somewhere out here…but the sudden, surprising sight of him, and the sound of his voice as we hugged like long lost brothers has given me a smile that has not, and probably will not dissipate for days.
He’s been sober for 20 years now. He’s been the saucier at Freshology for the last 7…and he’ll be my friend forever.
And VIVA to all of you who work along side of, stand up for, believe in and live to help the Andrews of this world. Keep coming back…it works.