I came in contact with another homeless man last night at a 7-Eleven Convenience Store. He must have been around 30 years old and was totally filthy. He was sitting on a bench, right next to the entrance of the store and had a small bag with all his belongings, right next to him.
As I approached the door, he stood up and opened it for me, I entered and thank him. I grabbed a newspaper, paid for it, and walked out towards my car. I would have stopped to give him some change, but it was dark.
Today, I saw him again when I went to the same store to buy the newspaper. There was an exact repeat of what had happened last night, but when I walked out, I approached him, patted his hand, opened it and shoved a dollar bill into it. I made it clear to him that it wasn’t a hand out, but was given to him because this was the second time he’d opened the door for me and I appreciated it. I called him, “Sweety Pie,” as I said these few words to him. He was shocked, then the look turned to a tender look towards me, and he said he would NEVER forget me, and kept repeating it, until I couldn’t hear him anymore, as I drove away.
I haven’t been able to get him out of my mind since last night. He was a good looking Anglo, and his face showed the obvious signs that he was an alcoholic. I can’t stop wondering what happened in his life, to have lead him all the way down skid row. I keep seeing his eyes and I want to cry. I just don’t feel good. I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m not depressed. I’m just feeling so sad.
That dollar I gave him will neither make me nor break me. I realize he may have used that dollar to buy booze, but that is none of my business. Maybe he will use it to buy something to eat. No, I can’t stop thinking about him and I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after. Will he be hungry? He’s so alone. How sad.
Why? Why? Why? Is there so much poverty and mentally ill homeless people out on the streets? Isn’t this supposed to be the richest and most powerful country in the world? Billions are being spent on stupidity, and here, in this country, there’s so much pain and so many helpless people who need help. Why? I just don’t understand!
No, I just CAN’T stop thinking about that poor soul, so alone, so dirty and so sad, so helpless - sitting outside that convenience store. I haven’t been able to get rid of this stinging in my eyes, kind of like when you get vinegar the eyes.