If you aren’t already smiling because God gave you another day on this beautiful Earth, at least smile because the sun is out. Finally, I can wake up, look out my window and know that straightening my hair is at least an option. (For those of you who don’t know, curly hair and rain aren’t exactly best friends.) Although I didn’t enjoy the rain last week, I did enjoy the cool weather. There’s nothing like a pea coat, scarf, boots and being able to see your breath in the mornings.
Despite what the forecast was last week, one of my days was filled with sunshine.
For those of you who have kept up with sweetteaandserendipity over the years or those of you who know me personally, you know that nothing tugs on my heartstrings like the homeless. You have probably seen this in a few of my older posts…
You can say, think or believe whatever you would like when it comes to the subject of homeless people. However, at the end of the day, you are probably saying, thinking and believing those things with a roof over your head. Despite the reason that people are having to reside on the street, whether it may be self-causing or just an unfortunate situation, I think that you should never pass someone with a cardboard sign and not hand them a dollar.
I don’t hand homeless people money or buy them things so that I can write about them on here.
God says that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I don’t only believe this because of my religious views but because it is evident in every step that I take as I walk away from that corner, bench or coffeeshop after making a new homeless friend. I want each of you to be able to feel that too…
I want to tell you about my latest experience with the kind man that I met downtown last Saturday afternoon.
After eating Mellow Mushroom with a few friends and watching the Dawgs win (finally), I was making my way back to my car when I heard a raspy voice that would make most girls run. This raspy voice, maybe given it’s tone by one too many cigarettes, asked me for some money. My friends continued to walk on but I was intrigued. This wouldn’t be another handout that I satisfied with a transaction of a dollar.
Although I probably frighten my elders by saying this, the homeless man with one eye seemed like a friendly one and who doesn’t love making new friends more than me?
I told this man that I didn’t have any cash but that I would love to buy him some lunch. Although I knew this would put a good dent in my bank account, I continued to let him choose where he would like to eat. After a few blocks of walking and talking about the woman he loved and thought was “prettier than a pearl,” we ended up at Subway. I will say, I turned quite a few heads walking in with a one-eyed black man who was taller than the trees on Clayton Street.
We walked up to the counter and I said four words that I thought I would soon regret – “Get whatever you want.”
I stood back and listened to the sound of my bank account draining as I watched him order a foot long sub, 2 bags of chips and a large drink.
As we walked out of the chain restaurant, I knew I had most likely overdrawn from my bank account. It was the first time that I had ever felt sick to my stomach after doing something for a homeless person. I felt awful.
Before parting ways, the sweet man taller than the trees told me that I had the prettiest hair he had ever seen (Keep in mind that I have curly hair and it was raining). My hair looked like a mop. Before I could even say thank you, he took his fingers, that were long enough to wrap around the neck of a guitar twice, and began running them through my hair. I would usually freak out. One, because of the fact that my curls would frizz, and two, I didn’t know where these long fingers of his had been. But that day, I didn’t care.
Beginning to end the conversation and go about my day, I heard him say one last thing to me – “Can I have a hug?”
I never really thought about it until I met this man downtown. Unless, I was joking or throwing a pity party, in my 20 years, I don’t think I have ever had to ask for a hug. Thankfully, God has given me people that hug me daily.
Touched enough by the situation, I walked back to my car and got in with my four friends who were a bit confused about what had happened on the corner as they watched from afar. However, as I clicked my seatbelt and started the right playlist, what I was about to see from afar was much better than what my friends had just witnessed a minute before.
Across the street, I saw the man I was fortunate enough to have just met indulging in that steak and cheese sandwich…along with another man who he had given the other half of his sandwich and bag of chips to.
My favorite children’s book was If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – the tale of a mouse who asks for a cookie and continues to beg for more.
I feel like it’s almost a shame that we read that book to children because obviously, that’s not true.
Stay kind and generous,