(True story from Christian Association of Youth Mentoring)
Hal had the perfect setup to be matched with David. He would close his office early once a week so he could pick up David as he returned home from his high school where he was just beginning his freshman year. Their mentor coach arranged the match meeting... it seemed that this was the beginning of a solid friendship.
Hal arrived on time to meet David the next Tuesday afternoon. The young man was nowhere to be found. Instead of getting in his car and leaving, Hal sat on his fender and waited.
Forty-five minutes later, David popped around the corner and into Hal's car. The afternoon went well, and they committed to meet again at the agreed time the following week.
Seven days later, David is missing in action again when Hal arrives. It takes another three quarters of an hour wait before he arrives. This time, Hal makes a more specific plea for David to show up on time, to which the mentee gave a positive response.
Hal reported the problem to his coach during a supervision call who in turn contacted David to determine how the relationship was going from his perspective. David said that he liked Hal and was looking forward to their year together. She encouraged Hal to keep meeting.
The third time was not a charm. It took nearly an hour for the young man to arrive. Hal asked if there was a problem with the time, to which David said that the arrangements were fine.
The next week, and each week afterwards, David showed up on time.
A year later, David explained his behavior at the start of their now solid-friendship. He asked Hal, "Do you know where I was each week while you were waiting for me?"
Hal had no idea.
"I was hiding behind the bushes around the corner waiting for you to leave. When you stayed so long, I gave in and met with you. After a few weeks, I figured you weren't going to give up."
Over the year, Hal learned that David's dad would sporadically come into his life and make promises about getting together regularly so they could go to ball games. The promises were broken each time, from which David seemed to learn that men were not trustworthy. When Hal made the promise to meet weekly, David couldn't take the step of faith to trust him. It was only Hal's patience and persistence that broke through David's emotional wall.