The First (and only) Time I Picked up a Prostitute

The first (and only) time i picked up a prostitute

It was October of 2000, one of those rare, grey drizzly days we sometimes get in Colorado. I was on Nevada Avenue – the main drag through downtown Colorado Springs –  when I saw her. I pulled my van to the side of the road and picked her up.

Flashback to earlier that week…

It was my third year of teaching band at The Colorado Springs School. I had found my true calling as a teacher. Not only do I teach music, but I teach life. Emotional connections were made with students and their families. The mom of one of my students – I’ll call the student April – had passed away unexpectedly. Now April would be without a mom. Now April’s dad would be a widower. It was such a sad time for that family and the entire school community.

The viewing was on that cold drizzly day. At the viewing, we – faculty, students and other families from The Colorado Springs School – came together around April’s family like extended family. We were sharing stories about April, about her dad and about her mom. I could feel the presence of God strongly in the viewing room. I left and hopped in my van.

As I was heading down Nevada Ave., I saw a short, hunched over, dressed-in-rags woman in the drizzly rain. She wasn’t much to look at, maybe in her 30s but she had the look of someone who had a rough life and looked more to be in her 50s.  She had her thumb stuck out to hitchhike. I don’t usually pick up hitchhikers and don’t recommend it to you, but as I approached her, I distinctly felt God was telling me to pick her up.

It wasn’t an audible voice…

“James….pick this lady up.”

It was more of a voice within my spirit.

I obeyed the voice and stopped to pick her up. She told me she was headed to work and mentioned a location about two miles away. As we were headed there, we made some small talk. I asked her “Where do you work?” She hesitated, squirmed a little, and then answered, “I’m working the streets.”

By now, we were at her destination. I looked at her and said, “Honey, I think God has something better for you than that.” Tears began to flow down her face as she exited my van and shut the door. Tears streamed down my face as I realized that God had put me in that spot, that moment, that day to minister to a sheep that had strayed from the fold. God’s compassion on her flowed through me and my words to touch her spirit.

I wish I knew what happened to this lady. I wish I could say she left that life, went to college and became successful, helping others who had been through what she had, but that was the last time I saw her. I do know that I was supposed to pick her up and tell her God had something better for her. 

When you hear that small voice telling your spirit something, do what it says.

James Divine is a teacher, speaker, author, and musician. He is learning to hear that still, small voice more each day. This story was excerpted from The Saxophone Diaries: Stories and tips from my 30+ years in music. Get your copy at the store at or on amazon. ***James is the author of 5 books, including I Cannoli Imagine: My Italian Life. You can reach him HERE