Hear from our current intern’s perspective on her first couple of interactions at Sox Place. One of the demographics we serve here at Sox Place is what’s called a train rider. Check out what Courtney has to say about these select individuals below.
This week marked my third week at Sox Place. I’ve been learning a heck of a lot but one of the coolest things is about the train riders.
Train riders are people who hop on boxcars and travel across the country. Its more than just a hobby for these people though- it’s a lifestyle. They’ll come through different cities for a few weeks at a time and hang out, meet people to trace with, get new food and clothes etc.. they have a very distinct look to them. Once you know what a train rider looks like, you can spot them from a mile away. They wear clothes that look like something from an army surplus store, black boots, hats and vests with patches all over them, (most of the time) a variety of grateful dead items, and a plethora of stick and poke tattoos. Some of them have tattoos of train-tracks or the railroad crossing sign. Lots of the girls have dreads and lots of the dudes have beards. They’re cool. Really cool.
They have incredible stories, too. Incredible. Since my job is to love on people and get to know them, I’ve had the chance to hear some pretty cool tales from the train riders. lots of their stories are heart-breaking to hear, especially the ones about friends they’ve lost because of how dangerous jumping trains is.
Its a weird lifestyle choice to most of us- but for a lot of them, it’s an adventurous way to escape from their problems.
a lot of these people come from broken homes or places of poverty and abuse, and instead of staying in one place on the streets, they choose to travel by train. Today a rider named sideshow bob told me that once you start riding, you either hate it or fall in love. and most of the time, it’s the latter. It’s a way for these people who’ve been dealt a bad hand in life to make themselves happy and fulfilled through travel and the newness that comes with sneaking around the train yard and hopping in box cars.
The cool thing about being at Sox Place, is seeing how my bosses’ willingness to show them God’s love has made a mark in the hearts of the train riders. The idea here at Sox Place is to love people with an open heart and arms like Christ has. And I can tell you after being there for only 3 weeks, that it WORKS.
Without being preached at or condemned, some of the train riders who are here in Denver right now asked Doyle (my boss) to take them to church last sunday. They see there’s something different in him and want to find it.
Today was the last day in Denver (for a while) for this group of train riders who have been at sox the past few weeks. It was hard saying goodbye to some of the friends I’ve made, but what happened when they left was chillingly awesome.
They asked Doyle to pray over them before they left. so hannah, myself, Doyle, and about 7 train riders stood in a circle as Doyle prayed over them. It was emotional and beautiful to hear Doyle pray for their safety and that they see the love of Christ. the real, raw, love of Christ. These train riders are incredible and have a special place in my heart.
So whenever you see a train, think of Bob, Ogre, Boone, Scott, and Ricochet who travel dangerously across the country. Think about the people like them who do crazy stuff daily and pray that they remain safe, sober, warm, and fed. and most of all, that they know they have a loving Savior who thinks about them constantly.