Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sushi and interesting mix

To sum up tonight....and excellent meal followed by a heart-heavy moment.

Dinner was good tonight, we went to an amazing restaurant that serves Japanese and Thai food. I had the BEST Tom Yum soup and the freshest sushi I've had in a while. Landon scarfed down some shrimp wonton soup ( YUMMMM!), veggies, wontons and all, and then almost another full plate of terriyaki chicken and rice. Colin was content with his broth and rice...UGH! If only the child would *try* something! He talks about how good things smell, but still refuses to try frustrating is that? That's beside the point though.

After dinner, we headed down to Carvel to get some ice-cream, just a short walk away from where we had dinner. As we walked up, I noticed an older man standing right by the door in tattered, dirty, clothes. He wore glasses and had a full beard on his noticably dirty face. He was eating an ice-cream cone and silently watching the tv through the front window of the store. He stood next to a grocery cart full of plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and there was a tattered comforter folded neatly on top of it.

For some reason, my heart immediately went out to him. He never extended his hand to ask for anything or even looked my way, but my heart broke when I tried to imagine the circumstances that brought him to this place in his life.

We went in and bought our ice-cream cones and decided to go outside to eat them. The man was still there, standing by the window silently. Not one person spoke to him, and it seemed as if everyone just looked right through him. It seemed as if to others, and even to himself, that he wasn't "present".

A few minutes later, he walked into Carvel. I only noticed because a security guard ran past me to go in to the restaurant, obviously he was following the man. The homeless man walked to the counter and ordered a cone. A man outside commented to his wife, chuckling "Watch, this guy is going to be kicked out of here in 10 seconds...10, 9, 8.....". As he said that the homeless fellow walked to the counter and pulled out some money to pay for what he ordered. Then he walked out to the same spot to eat it and watch tv again.

Colin and Kelly finished their cones, and the one that Landon and I were sharing was just a melted mess, so we were done. I headed to the trash can with it, which just so happened to be right behind the homeless man. As I carried it by him, he looked at it like a dog might watch scraps that someone is about to throw away. I asked him, "Would you like this?" and he said, "yes...please." I handed it to him to finish eating it.

Yeah...maybe it's a little gross to some, but my heart broke even more when I handed it over to him. How could he end up here? He had to be sick....lost....something had to have happened that was beyond his control.

Before we left, I walked up to him and asked him if he minded if I gave him something, and I handed him the $5 that I had in my wallet. I said, "God bless you..." and he said the same to me. He seemed shocked beyond belief that someone spoke to him...much less gave him any money. I only wish that I had more.

We walked back to the car and past the security guard who was still watching him very carefully. I asked him if he was a threat to anyone. The security guard went into a tirade about how he was a public nuisance and that he had already gotten 20 calls from people who didn't want him "hanging around" and, what if he had hepatitis and he breathed on me or one of my kids and we "got" it too. I told him that the man seemed sick, and he said, "oh yes...I'm sure he is...he needs to be in a hospital or something". So I said, "Well, then is there someone that we can call that might be able to help him?" "'s the police, I'm sure that they're here to pick him up".

For what? Buying some ice-cream and trying to enjoy it outside like the rest of us?

What an A$$hole!!

I just don't understand how people can see someone like that who is in NEED...true need, and just pass them by....on top of that...COMPLAIN about him! He has to be someone's son, brother, uncle, or friend. Maybe even someone's FATHER! What if he's lost and he's doing all that he can just to survive day to day? What if he has dementia or alzheimers and has no idea who he is, or where he belongs? What if people are looking for him, missing him, and he has no idea that they are even out there?

It made me sick, and I cried when we left. I wish I could have done so much more to help him.

I don't think that I'll ever forget his crystal blue eyes behind those dirty lenses.

They reminded me so much of Colin's.

God forbid he's ever in that place one day......

I hope that if he ever is that *someone* would extend a helping hand or a gesture of compassion instead of looking down their noses and laughing at his misfortune.


andria said...

That was good of you to be so kind to that man. We see many here in Houston and it just saddens me to wonder how lonely they must feel.

Wouldnt' it be nice if the cops took him to the ER?

OneHungMan said...

You're a good person. The problem is that 2007 isn't like the 1970s. Half the time when you try to be nice to someone, you get fucked; or killed.

Don't be surprised if you end up getting sued if the old man gets sick from the ice cream you gave him...that's how society operates today.

Anonymous said...

You're a good, fine person, Lori. I admire your strength and compassion.

When I was working, I saw scenes like that every day in the, so heartbreaking. I would think of that song...can't remember the artist...Joan Osborne maybe?

"What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us. Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home..."