MY SAD ENCOUNTER WITH A HOMELESS MAN
Yesterday was Sunday and it started out as nearly every Sunday does for my wife and I. We get up early and prepare for a great day of rest, worship and fellowship with friends and family. We headed off to church and immediately afterward a quick stop at the local warehouse club to pick up a few bulk items.
We planned to visit with my wife’s mother and decided to pick up some Tai food on the way and have a nice lunch with the three of us. As we were driving to the restaurant, we spotted a man walking along the road. Now this man was hard to miss, he was wearing military issue boots, desert fatigue pants, and a dark heavy coat. He had a baseball cap on his head with a hood pulled over it and you could barely see his long dark bearded face and stringy knotted up hair. He also has a very dirty white mattress pad with a hole cut in the center of it pulled over his head and covering his body like a cape. He seemed very determined and walked with vigor but his head was held low, the mattress pad billowed in the breeze drawing even more attention to him.
My wife and I passed by him and drove another 500 yards to the Tai restaurant, walked in and placed an order for take out. We talked about the man walking along the road. My wife has a huge heart for people and would give the coat off of her back to someone in need. In fact, I’ve seen her do just that, taking her own coat off and giving it to a person in need and then walking away in the freezing cold without a coat for herself and before you even wonder about it, yes, I gave my coat to my wife.
We decided that I would go out and talk to the man walking along the road
and my wife would stay at the restaurant where she would be safe. I walked outside and down to the road and there was no sign of the man so I jumped in the car and headed in the direction that he was walking. It wasn’t long and I caught sight of him, he was near a traffic light walking on the left side of the road on the sidewalk. I started looking for a place that I could pull over and park the car.
Suddenly, the man fell to the ground partly on the sidewalk and partly in the grass. My heart sunk as I didn’t see him moving at all. He lay there, flat on the ground in a heap. I wondered if he had a heart attack? Was he on drugs? Maybe he was diabetic or possibly just exhausted and in nead of a meal?
I quickly pulled up to the light and turned left onto a side street and parked the car. I jumped out and ran over to the man asking him if he was OK. He immediately got to his knees and began gathering the few things that he dropped when he fell and then he said “get away from me!” He had a goose down jacket that now had a huge hole in it and the down was blowing everywhere in the wind. Again I asked him, “can I do anything to help you?”
He replied, “look man, just get away from me, I don’t want anyone near me at Christmas time!”
That really shocked me, wow, how incredibly sad. I said to him, “hey buddy, it’s OK, I’m just offering to help you.” He suddenly became agitated and began fumbling through the pocket on the right leg of his military pants. I took a few steps backwards anticipating that he might be going for a knife or some other weapon. I said, “alright buddy, I’m glad to see that you’re OK!” He then started talking to himself in a very agitated manner and I took the hint and headed back to my car, while keeping a close eye where my new friend was.
I got back in the car, turned to look at the man and he was now swinging his arms around, very agitated and still talking to himself. I started the car and drove off, heading back to the Tai restaurant.
I felt very bad for this man and I still feel for him. He was obviously homeless and needed help but for whatever reason, refused it. Oh, you might be wondering what I was going to do for him? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe buy him a meal, give him some money, I don’t really know, my wife and I just wanted to do something for some in obvious need.
The reason that I am even writing this story is because I want people to understand that it’s OK to accept help.
Some people are too prideful to ask for help or to accept it when someone offers. Get rid of the pride. Others are having a pity party for themselves and would rather be miserable than accept help. I have the feeling that this homeless man believed that he didn’t deserve help. Don’t ever be that way. If help is offered by someone, please accept it, that’s the right thing to do for you and for them.
This holiday season, look out for each other, help someone in need. Give an elderly person a hand carrying their groceries to their car. Open a door for someone. Allow someone to jump ahead of you in line. Buy a homeless person a meal or give them a coat. This is the season for giving. Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas because the world received the greatest gift ever given to anyone a little over 2000 years ago. Show someone in need that you really do care about them.
Let the world see that you really do care.