I use rideshare services to travel to and from work as a Respite Hospitality Coordinator. My work is built on conversations and relationships and I often take that out into the world. So, I find myself educating my drivers on the work we do at Haywood Street and the response I am most often given is “Thank you for your service.” At this I grin and think, if they only knew.
You have to experience the essence of Haywood Street to understand that those of us within the community are honored and privileged. I lost my immediate family early in life and have been creating my own family for years, but did not know true loyalty, friendship and love until I found Haywood St. Congregation.
I was broken and on a healing journey and was given the opportunity through employment to encourage others to take those scary steps toward healing. I have been touched by late night coffee and pancake conversations around the kitchen table with folks emerging from addiction, homelessness and medical complications that caused severe pain. I cried tears of joy the night a friend told me he had not had a hug from a human in 10 years.
I have shared the excitement of watching a friend get his first apartment after panhandling daily just to get through the next 24. And was touched to see him allow his Respite roommate with him until he too got a new place. It is pure joy to hear the knock at our porch door and see a former resident stopping by with a smile to simply say “I am well and you are missed.”
There have been hard times in my first year of employment too. Times when I needed to sit close to a dying friend and his mother. Or hearing there was nothing more medically that could be done for a friend passing of Cancer. Seeing the return of a former resident in dire need of assistance because he has relapsed and lost touch with reality. These moments are the ones I am honored by. To simply sit in the chaos and stress of those hard times with someone is what was never done for me when I was fighting my own demons.
So, to my rideshare drivers, while it may seem that my co-workers and I provide a service, trust me when I say we feel honored and privileged to be welcomed at Haywood.