Omaha can be an incredibly difficult city to get around in without your own transportation. I never understood this to be an issue until I started working at Open Door Mission. I admit I have always had access to a reliable vehicle.
Working here at the Mission, we are humbled on an almost daily basis, and this instance was of no exception. Like most of my humbling moments here, understanding the value of self-transportation came as an accidental discovery.
A New Life Recovery Program graduate happened to stop by the kitchen one day, exhausted from his new job. He came to say hi to the staff and tell us how his new job was fairing. His main struggle was waking up early enough to catch the bus. I said (in my own ignorance) “Well, at least you have the bus, it’s better than walking!” Was I right? Sure. Does it mean I should have said that? Looking back, I would admit that these were not my wisest words.
He kindly explained to me that he had to wake up three hours early in order to catch the right bus, make the connecting buses, work for a full day, and then catch the bus home. This would take him almost two hours each way.
I am not saying every commute is that intense, and he sure was not saying that the bus system is bad; nor was he complaining. He simply wanted to give me perspective. We all began talking about the struggles a single mom would face who relied on transportation that was not her own. Or not being in control of the transportation that gets you to your job, the job that provides a place to live, food to eat, and/or a place to sleep.
Since that moment, I have seen first-hand at Open Door Mission what transportation can do for a man or a woman who is starting over, who is asking for a second chance. I have seen vehicles take our graduates back to college. I have seen vehicles help moms and dads get custody of their children back because they have reliable transportation. I have seen vehicles get men and women to their new jobs (on time). I have seen vehicles give our graduates hope.
I pray that this gives you a fresh perspective. That you know every car that has been donated goes to someone who will truly appreciate what they have been given. That we continue to have vehicles donated and that they continue to be a piece of transforming lives.