By Jimmy Meeks. Retired Police Officer

Sally was standing in the center median with full intentions of begging for money. It was a busy time of the day – rush hour – and cars were bumper to bumper. She was determined to convince a few of the drivers to toss some coins in her direction.

I pulled up next to her in my police car and before she had approached her first “customer,” I told her to cross the street and meet me in the nearby parking lot.

As we began our conversation, she confirmed my suspicions: Begging for cash was the plan. She only needed about 10 dollars, she said, which would convince her friends back at the hotel to let her stay another night. She stood outside my car, talking about her predicament. I didn’t want her to sleep on the street ...

“Do you have a brother or sister I could call?” I asked … 

“No,” said with a noticeable sadness in her voice…

“What about your mom or dad? Can I call them?”

“No, they’re both dead.”

I knew there were some shelters in downtown Ft Worth, and apparently she read my mind.

“I don’t want to go downtown Ft. Worth,” she quickly replied.

 But it was her next few statements that somewhat caught me off guard.

“I have nice teeth,” Sally said, sheepishly smiling.

She saw the puzzled look on my face.

“I have nice teeth, officer, and I’m kind of pretty. If I go down there I’ll be sexually harassed all night.” Sally admitted to prostituting herself at times, but hated doing it, she said.

Now, I have no desire to offend this dear girl. And perhaps “kind of pretty” does describe her. But only “kind of.” Her shirt and very short dress had obviously not been inside a washing machine in quite some time. She wore flip-flops and her feet were dirty.  And it was apparent that she had not bathed in days. 

But still, my heart went out to her…

“Sally,” I asked, “When is the last time you had something to eat?”

My question broke her. Her lips began to quiver as her eyes swelled with tears.

“I haven’t had anything to eat since yesterday.” 

“Well, hey, why don’t you hop in my police car and let’s cross this busy street and get you something to eat!”

Her “kind of pretty” face lit up like a child who had just gotten a new toy. Excitedly, she jumped in the back seat of my cruiser and we made our way to the nearby convenient store.

Sally and I entered the store and you would’ve thought a 3-year old had just been dropped off at Toys R Us. The folks in the store didn’t know what to make of us. Their facial expressions all seemed to say the same thing: “What’s this cop doing with…her?” 

“Sally get what you want.” 

She ran around the store like a spoiled child. 

“Be sure and get you something to drink,” I shouted…

This particular convenient store had just opened a “kitchen,” and hot food could be ordered, and ready, in only a few minutes. Sally rushed up to the computer on the counter, placed her order, and shortly thereafter held a hot meal in her hands. 

“Hey, get something else, too,” I told her. “You’ll be hungry again in only a few hours.”  She grabbed a sandwich off the shelf.  

Customers continued to stare. In all honesty I think they were enjoying the scene.  Those watching me seemed to be having a good time. Perhaps they thought the whole scene was “refreshing.” 

We made our way to the register.  My bill was an additional $10.00. Sally had earlier said that 10 bucks might get her another night with her friends to help pay for the room. The cashier slipped me the 10-dollar bill and I passed it on to Sally.

Confusion was all over her face. Her expression clearly said, “Why are you doing this…?”

As we made our way toward the door, out of nowhere Sally blurted out: “Can I hug you… can I hug you…?” 

Customers coming and going saw this girl begging a cop for a hug.  Time seemed to stand still for a moment. I paused, knowing that those standing nearby were eager to see my response…

“Sure,” I replied. 

She reached up and wrapped her dirty arms around me.  It was a full-blown hug. She seemed to be holding on for dear life…

It would dawn on me later that this may have been the only hug from a man with no ulterior motives that she had had in years …

Sally told me she was going to the train station to catch a ride back to where her friends were. Knowing the station was only 3 minutes down the road, I offered to take her. It was a hot day and I didn't want her to stay out in the sun any longer than she had to.

Once again she hopped in the back seat of my cruiser and off we went – The Cop and the Call Girl…

Along the way, she kept saying, "You're so different. I always heard you guys were mean..." I didn't really know what to say in response, so I just let her talk. And talk she did, interrupted with an occasional cry.

We pulled into the parking lot near the train station and she hopped out. She seemed so happy, at least for now. 

As she walked in front of my car, headed to the train depot, it suddenly dawned on me: I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and I have the power to impart a blessing to this girl… 

I quickly exited my car, extended my hands toward her in the posture of a priest, and remembering the words of Numbers 6, I boldly spoke aloud: "SALLY…THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU. THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU. THE LORD GIVE YOU PEACE..."

She stood still for a moment, not knowing what to think. She slowly smiled through quivering lips and then turned and walked away.

As she went, I couldn't help but think, "That's someone's daughter." And though Sally's daddy was dead, I suspect there was a day he could look into her eyes, call her his "little girl," and hug her - just like she had asked me to do.

I have 6 daughters. They are the delight of my heart. They light up my world and make my heart leap. 

But who -  WHO -  will delight in the Sally's of the world? Who will celebrate them? Who will – like Jesus – go after these castaways?

Jesus kept company with such women as Sally. He welcomed their “advances.” He allowed them to touch Him, to wash His holy feet with their tears, to anoint His head with expensive perfume…

Jesus was called the “Friend of Sinners.”  The rejects of society were drawn to Him. Tax collectors, so despised in their day, would walk off their job to be with Him. Fishermen would abandon their boats to follow Him. The diseased and dying would press through smothering crowds just to touch his robe. 


The world has tagged us Christians with numerous titles: Evangelical, Conservative, Right-Winger, The Religious Right, and a host of others. 

But rarely do they call us …“Friend of Sinners…”