Last week my boyfriend was walking to the corner store to purchase a pack of smokes. On his way back, across the parking lot, he passed a homeless man sleeping in front of a well lit Dollar Tree. With all of the weather that has been going on lately I imagine the man was looking to get picked up for the night. Nothing beats a hot shower and free meal when you have nothing else to look forward to, I guess.
As he approached the man, he realized that the man was not going to ask for money or anything else. I'm sure that this was what prompted him to offer the gentleman a used ten dollar bill.
Now normally in a situation such as this, the money would have been exchanged in the fastest way possible, but this was not a normal situation. "You don't have to do that," the man said. Slightly taken aback, my boyfriend informed the man that he knew he did not have to do anything, but that he should just take it because it was all that he could do.
When he came home he approached me with a plastic bag of dry goods that had been sitting around my house for who knows how long. He told me what had happened and ask if he could give the bag to the man. I added some more food to it, and he walked it back over to the Dollar Tree.
He set the bag at the foot of the filthy, worn sleeping bag of a bed the man was hiding it and came back home.
After that, we had a long talk about how people from other countries are simply appalled by the idea of so many homeless people in the country that is popular for "making it." It amazes me that the majority of well-off people that I come in contact with often vomit out phrases like, "Get a job." How does someone with no place to shower, no food to eat, and no clean clothes get a job? These are the people who do not often see it because the police come by and pick them up, only to drop them off on the poor side of town. And the people who witness homelessness the most are the ones who are so below the poverty line that all they can offer is hope that the situation will change.
This hurts my soul. It makes me cry. It infuriates me.
I do not think that most people realize that all it takes is one string of bad luck before they lose all of their treasures too. And it could be anything: no way to get out from where you started, medical deterioration that requires all of your time and resources, death of a spouse, etc. Anything could happen that puts a person in the position of living under benches and praying for a meal.
I suppose I will do something about it when I'm above that line, if I make it.