“Please don’t make me cry.”

Posted: January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
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This morning was freezing cold. I was bundled up as best as possible. We all had heavy bags to carry. We each had our literature we were going to hand out and it was time to get started.

Nothing like spending a Sunday morning in a bad neighborhood going door-to-door.

We were paired up. Two people together at all times and always within each others eyesight. Each woman had a man with them. We had each others cell phone numbers and were as prepared as we could be.

This area had been picked due to a recent shooting and human trafficking. Our work was to reach out to people and give them some help. Handing out booklets about better living and their rights is the entry point. Always start with education and information.

I wasn’t nervous but I also am not stupid. The air had an electric feel to it. Many people looked at us suspiciously as we approached and very quickly returned our smiles and eagerly took the information. Each and every one of them thanked us, blessed us and a few wanted to shake our hands.

One person wanted to feed us and was worried that we were cold.

Standing there, looking at her and the ruined house she lived in made me smile. Here she was, living in very horrible conditions and she was worried about me. She probably didn’t have two nickles to rub together, but she wanted to feed me. When I declined, she then wanted to give me coffee. I laughed, shook her hand again and told her I was fine and warm enough.

We worked as fast as we could, going door to door and up so many stairs that I lost count. I could feel my legs getting tired and was still feeling the soreness from working out 2 days before. We would periodically take a quick break, drop our heavy bags and stretch.

As I was walking down one side of the street, a homeless man came around the corner. He had his shopping cart filled with all sorts of things and he was walking slowly. He looked hungry and cold. I guessed his age as his late 50’s with a 3-day growth of whiskers and his clothes were filthy. He had holes in his shoes, no socks and he walked aimlessly with his head down.

I walked up to him and stopped in front of his cart. He looked up and then looked away. I didn’t move.

“Hi,” I said.

He looked up and straight into my eyes. They were a brilliant blue and clear.

“Hi,” he said.

Then he smiled.

It was a beautiful smile.

I reached out my hand to shake his.

He put his hand out.

“You can see me?” he asked as he shook my hand. His hand was cold and dirty. I held it for a moment and looked down at it. I looked back up at him and let go.

“Yes, I can see you,” I said. “I am sorry for your troubles.”

He tilted his head and maintained eye contact. He nodded his head. I reached into my bag and gave him the information.

“I don’t know if this will help you, but I hope it does,” I said. He reached over and took it.

“You’re the first person to have said anything nice to me in…I can’t remember how long. I thought maybe I was invisible…”

“No, you’re not invisible. Maybe you are hiding?”

He laughed. “You might say that.”

He was completely lucid and sweet. I didn’t know his story and didn’t have time to find out, but I knew I would never forget him.

We shook hands and I walked away. As I was crossing the street, he said “I’m glad I met you.”

I turned around and felt the tears starting. I quickly wiped my eyes. “I’m glad I met you too,” I said as I waved and walked away.

We finished up the day, cold and happy. We packed up the van, said our goodbyes and each went our respective ways. I turned on the GPS on my phone to find a way home, cranked up the Pandora app and checked my email and text messages before driving off. The heater was on and I was beginning to thaw. I still had a lot to do that day and my house was not going to clean itself.

As I drove down the street, I kept looking for him. I don’t know why but I wanted to see if he was OK. I’ll probably never see him again but I hope he found a hot meal and a warm place to sleep tonight.

  1. shopaholicann says:

    So many to help, so little time, so few resources BUT there are so many who look and turn away, usually the ones who could help the most. How much would it hurt to go without the latest Gucci bag or pair of Manolo’s? A drop in the ocean you might say but then multiply that up…

    • Susan Lewis says:

      So very true.

      Some don’t want the help, but most do.

      I have people I know that are homeless and some that have gotten very close to it.

      It doesn’t hurt to help someone or be kind to them.