Last week I had a very disturbing experience at the food sharing outside our church on Orange Blossom Trail, OBT, in Orlando. We feed the homeless and needy people in the neigborhood every week, so this was one of our regular nights with a 100 people standing in line to eat.
At 5.30 pm we were plating the food and getting ready to serve, when four black cars came into our parking lot and parked next to a black truck that were already there. It looked like new rental cars, something official, so they caught my attention.
Next thing I saw were the drivers in the black cars jumping out, opening up the trunks and giving out stuff from the back to the people in our parking lot.
I don’t mind people caring for the community and helping us serve. That happens a lot of times. Usually teams will come and ask if they can join us, giving out food, clothing, hygiejne products etc, but this time was different. It seemed like these people had another agenda.
I am Not a Racist
I walked over to talk to them, but they totally ignored me. They were all african americans, a group of 10-15 young people, handing out packages. “This is private property”, I said, and immediately one of them, a young guy with tattoos in his face, came right at me cursing me out. Somehow he tried to make this a racial issue, calling me a “White Mother……”, as if the color of my skin would have anything to do with feeding the homeless. I am not from this country. I am a viking from Denmark, and over there we don’t see colors like some people see them here.
At this point, they all started shouting at me, almost like some of the protesters I have seen on the news. I saw the hate in their faces, as they were threatening me and calling me a racist. It all happened really fast, like putting gasoline on a fire. In all these years I have worked as a pastor in the “hood”, I never experienced anything like this…
Calling the Police
Our church is located just down the road from the police headquarters, so I picked up my phone and called the police, while the newcomers were still in my face cursing me out. Then they all went back in their cars and started to leave, including a black female driver, who almost ran me down on the way out. As the car touched me, I lifted my leg as a reflex, and the driver jumped out, accusing me of kicking the car.
At this point, the rest of the team were waiting across the street, and when they saw her coming out of the car, they all started running towards me. Again they were yelling and screaming, it looked like a lynch mob coming towards me, but thank God. Somebody went in their way and stopped them before it was too late.
The Devil in the Parking Lot
When the police showed up half an hour later, we were feeding the homeless like we always do. They were my eye witnesses, they had been watching from the side. The only hard evidence I had was footage from the security camera, but somehow the intruders had managed to cover up for the episode by parking one of the cars in front of the camera.
The Devil was in the parking lot that day, but so was God. And the only reason why I am still here is because of God. From His perspective All Lives Matters. It is not about being black or white. He made us all different, and He likes us like that.