“Water. I mean, it’s so important. We’re made of it, you know,” one slightly drunk, but very grateful guy informed me as I handed him a plastic cup. Stacey’s Mom played in the background and people enjoying their Saturday evenings (or Sunday mornings…) at the union passed us in the corridor.
He was one of hundreds of people that my group of volunteers handed water to that night. I’ve never done anything like this before. Okay, open book: I’ve never even been to Pop Tarts before and haven’t been out since first year; my favourite place to be at midnight is sleeping in my bed. So when I was asked by my church if I could help give out water at Pop Tarts last Saturday I was more than a little apprehensive.
But sacrificing those few hours to help people in the small way that I’m able to was a great experience. Perhaps, after a brief conversation with us, someone could have returned to their night feeling that little bit happier. Or maybe, as I write this morning, someone is waking up with a slightly better hangover than they might have otherwise had. Serving people whom are very grateful but often won’t remember in the morning is such a humbling experience. It reminded me that every person deserves helping, not for the sake of gratitude or reward, but simply because they’re a person and that makes them — you — worth sacrificing a few hours of sleep for.
It also gave me a massive appreciation for the staff at the SU who don’t just manage arguments or kick people out when they get too drunk; they are patient beyond anything I could be at three in the morning. Their jobs are difficult and so often go unnoticed and unappreciated, but they treat every person with respect and dignity regardless of who they are or what state they’re in.
So next time you’re in Pop Tarts and see people handing out water, take a cup and have a chat with us. And of course, remember the virtues of water. We are made of it, you know.