posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 01:32 AM
Honestly, who here can say that they can see themselves choosing to be homeless? It is a choice made out of necessity, such as kids who escape
abusive homes, or the result of such problems as mental illness, addiction, or even plain old poverty.
I am very close to someone who ran away at 12 years old and lived on the street, to escape her abusive homelife. She later lived in foster care, but
by 15 was on her own for good. She endured abusive partners, and sporadic homelessness for many years afterwards.
I don't doubt that there are frauds who are faking it to make a quick buck, but they are not the people in the shelters, souplines, or sleeping in
cardboard boxes. And I hope for a day when no one is left to live on the street.
I have two stories. I once asked a gas station clerk if I could use the phone, I had no money on me, but though I was broke, I was still barely
paying my rent so I was not desperate. But I needed to make a phone call, I can't recall who I needed to call, but I think it was a fellow I was
working for parttime. Anyway, the clerk wouldn't let me use the phone. A homeless man pushed a loonie (Canadian dollar coin) into my hand. I could
not give it back, and he even refused the 75 cents I had left over after my call. Two months later, I again tried to repay him, and he refused the
money I pleaded with him to take.
I find myself often wishing he'd let me repay him. He couldn't afford to do that. It was extremely giving of him, and I will never forget it.
The second one was in Puerto Vallarta, and a little Native American boy, maybe five years old, wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, runny nose,
dirty, barefoot, approached me and wanted to sell me some gum. I gave him about 5 times what I could have bought it for at the store, and I'll never
forget his reaction. He looked at me with a look that said, 'What an idiot this gringo is, he doesn't have a clue what this gum is worth, ha ha
ha.' He was smiling from ear to ear, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed seeing his expression of disbelief.. and a certain look I can't
describe, but I knew he thought I was nuts.
I often stop and chat with homeless people too.
'Anyone can be polite to a king, but it takes a special person to be polite to a beggar.'