Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 6 Homeless person

Help a homeless person.
This was done on 12-4

I decided to do this back in November and I asked my 8th grade students to help me come up with ideas.
I received the following suggestions multiple times.
Bake cookie <-- I think they wanted cookies
Donate (clothes, books or time)<-- I do this a few times a year, I don't really see it as being nice and I get a tax write off for it)
Help a homeless person. <-- In my rose color glasses, there aren't homeless people in Howard County. Now I know for a fact this isn't true. But when I read the suggestions I thought, "where the hell am I going to find a homeless person?"

I was driving to the drug store to drop off an RX for my daughter (She had an ear infection) and I thought to myself, I should do something nice for someone. I walk trough the drug store and sadly no niceness opportunities rises, besides my normal, "thank you and have a nice day."

I walked back to my car and start to pull out of the parking stop when I see him. He's older then I am, maybe in his 50's but clearly his life has been hard and it shows all over his weather worn face.
"Excuse me." he calls out.
I'm half way out of my parking spot and I roll down my window. He's keeping his distance.
"I hate to ask, I really do." He starts off. "I've lost my job with Chrysler and my wife and I are trying to get a room for the night."
Honestly my first thought: He picked me on a good month.
"It's getting cold."
It was, I loathe winter, and the thought of being outside more then 10 minutes makes me grumpy. I looked down at my car display, 43 degrees.
I dug through my purse. I knew I had cash, but a woefully small amount. I'm a debt card sort of girl, cash reminds me of how clumsy I am.
I hand me all my money, which I'm pretty sure was 4 dollars. "I'm so sorry, I wish I could give you more."
"No, thank you God bless you." This God bless you doesn't give me the same feeling it normally does. Normally I'm flustered and flattered. This one makes me sad.

"Good luck, sir." I said, mostly because I couldn't think of anything else. My normal have a nice day isn't going to cut it.
"We need it." He said.

I pulled away but he clung to my brain. Wasn't there more I could do? But how far should I go? The cynical side of me thinks he's just going to use my money for drugs. But there's the side of me that believes everything everyone says. Should I go to the ATM and withdraw twenty dollars? Should I go to the motel near by and pay for a room?

As I was pumping my gas, I looked across the street and saw the Dunkin Donuts. (BTW there's a lot of Dunkin Donuts where I live and work- not as many as in Boston.
I had a gift card I had bought my friend for completing NANOWRIMO (Check out my other blog which explains it)
Sorry Alicia, but I think this guys needs a warm cup of coffee more.

So I drove back to the parking lot, ready to give him the gift card. But he was gone.

I went later that night to pick up my daughter's RX and still no sight of him.

Will I do it again?
If I can find him again, I'll give him the gift card. If not Alicia get's it.
How much did it cost me? $4.00 and guilt.
How much time did it take? 30 seconds and I drove back around for a minute.
How much effort? Not much


  1. omg... I feel your pain.

  2. It's interesting how much things stick with you and linger. I"ve been thinking about him all weekend.

  3. Reading that gave me goosebumps. Sadness.