We see these people in our everyday life. Basically they are invisible unless we are forced to look at them and read their signs they hold while standing beside our car as we wait for the light to turn. Homeless Please Help or Hungry Will Work for Food. I always want to ask them what one thing causes their lives to turn out the way it did. Or maybe there were many circumstances that brought them to this. Some you know have mental illness and others have substance abuse. Then there are others that you know but for the grace of God go you.
Our son has always been fascinated with these people. I have explained to him many times that you have to be very careful in life to make good choices. You do have to get an education and have many skills to get you where you want. Like most teens this advice falls on deaf ears. Truly he even at 18 is ill prepared for what the world expects from him. I tell him that each and every one of those people have a family. Really I hope that at some point in their lives they had someone who loved, supported and cared for them. It is not a given I know.
The other week our son for the first time decides to walk to McDonalds for breakfast alone. It was a Saturday morning and we live in a neighborhood with many walkers. So there were many people out and we were not worried. We live in a relatively safe area but it is near 2-95 so that is a worry. Off he goes on his adventure with his cell phone in hand. We told him to call and we wanted him back to help with some things around the house. Well he didn’t come home but called about every 3 to 4 hours. We decided to just see how long he would stay out and thought he was avoiding the work that needed to be completed. You have to let go sometime and he had money along with his phone. He called in often and told us where he was. Mom I’m at Target and now I’m at Walgreens and got a drink and snack. He returned later that afternoon and all was well.
Later we were talking about what he did while he was out. Turns out he was talking to homeless people. One man he said had a home but he couldn’t live there because he had a restraining order against him. Another guy lived in his car and worked at as dishwasher. Then there was guy around his age that we had seen a few weeks before. We saw him walking one night talking to himself and performing a ritual around each pole. This guy had bottles tied around his neck and things hanging on his belt. The other guys he talked to told him to stay away from him. Of course he didn’t listen and I think finally went in Target to and found a security guard to get away for this man. After all these stories I asked him was it fun hanging out with the homeless that day. He didn’t really enjoy that day on the street and I hope he learned some good life lessons.
So now when we are driving around I have to ask “Do you know that person?” Sometime it is yes but like with this gentleman and his dog the answer is no. I don’t approve of what he did and his grandmother has already given him a piece of her mind, yes he told her the whole story, but it is good for him as well as all of us to remember that these are real people. Other than that I don’t know what to do. I don’t roll down my window and give them money. I will confess I have bought an extra meal and drink and handed it to them. More importantly we just need to keep our humanity when we see them.