The woman on the left is a mother from Miami who was so desperate to feed her hungry family that she was trying to steal a lot of food.
The woman on the right is Miami-Dade County Police Officer Vicki Thomas. Officer Thomas was about to arrest Jessica Robles but changed her mind at the last minute.
Instead of arresting her, she bought Robles $100 worth of groceries:
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.”
And there’s no denying they were hungry. Robles’ 12 year old daughter started crying when she told local TV station WSVN about how dire their situation was:
“[It’s] not fun to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.’”
Officer Thomas says she has no question that what she did was right:
“To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas. That $100 to me was worth it.”
But Officer Thomas did have one request:
“The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out. And she said she would.”
And guess what? The story gets even better.
After word got out about what happened people donated another $700 for Jessica Robles to spend at the grocery store.
And then best of all a local business owner invited her in for an interview and ended up hiring her on the spot as a customer service rep.
She started crying when he told her:
“There’s no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out. Especially somebody like me.”
And to think it all started with one veteran police officer trusting her “instinct” instead of going “by the book”.
I N S T I N C T
When I was younger I always imagined myself just lighting up the world with my talent. First I was going to be a famous ballerina because obviously, but then I quit dance after like 9 or 10 years (and that was a whole big thing, believe me.) So the next dream was to be a famous actress, because I got really into community theater after I left dance and I just loved it. But then I was accepted into the writing program at an arts magnet school instead of the theater program, so my dream became writing. I wrote stacks of poems and short stories, and was the editor of the literary magazine, and I pictured myself writing the next great American novel. All the while I was still involved in theater, and all of my friends were artists (because arts magnet school, of course) so my life was like one big creative party all the time.
But when my dad died my creative fuse just kind of burned out and I found myself struggling to even function. It took everything in me to put one foot in front of the other, graduate high school, and get to college. Once I got there I just focused on my studies and my friends and tried to live life again, one baby step at a time. Creativity was a side note, a thought that got pushed all the way to the back shelf in my mind. I wrote a couple of poems about 9/11, I remember. I tried to do theatre again but I started having panic attacks, so I gave it up.
Years passed, and when I finally found myself craving that creative process again it was so hard to grasp. I would sit down to write a poem, and it would take me an hour and I would hate it the next day. I destroyed more poems than I ever kept. But occasionally, one or two would be tolerable. And I’d save them here and there in little notebooks or in a secret file on my laptop, and pull them out again and read them over and feel a little shiver. Like remember, you can do this. You can make something out of nothing.
But there was always this voice in the back of my head saying “who cares? It’s not like you’re going to get published or anything. These poems are going to sit in a file on your laptop forever.” And that discouraged me. I started writing a novel and got 60,000 words in before I just gave up. It wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t the quality that I wanted it to be so it wasn’t worth it. I’ve picked it up again and started over, but it is SO. HARD. to just keep writing when I know it should be better. I know I can do better, but the words are locked inside of me. They don’t flow like they used to.
But I need the practice. I need the feeling of my fingers on the keys, putting words together to make something that wasn’t there before. Whether it’s good or not. Whether anyone ever sees it or not. It’s for me.
I have to just make everything art. Whether it’s dinner or poems or songs I play on my ukulele before bed, or quilts I sew or vegetables I plant or even just the way I decorate my office, everything is a creative process. If I hold my art to the standard of whether or not it’s going to set the world on fire, I’ll never do anything. I don’t have to impress anyone but myself.
This is what I have to remember, always:
“I love life, I love living life and I love the art of living, so I try to live my life as a poetic adventure, everything I do from the way I keep my house, cook, make my husband happy, or welcome my friends, raise my son; everything is a part of a large canvas I am creating, I am living beneath.” -Maya Angelou
Today a client told me I look like Kate Middleton.
Today bestie asked me to sew her a crib skirt out of a bed sheet she liked and I did it because that’s a thing I can do now.
I decided to visit the Boston Public Gardens today, to see the bench from Good Will Hunting, so I could pay my respects to one of my idols. I wasn’t alone, as crowds of young and old stood near, bound together by sadness.
Rest in peace Robin.
To be completely fair, though, I was actually half-quilting half-bopping to Dance Yrself Clean. So perhaps the argument should be against distracted quilting.
There’s a compelling argument to be made for not using sharp rotary cutters first thing in the morning. Today that argument is my partially severed finger.
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