So earlier today I was bored with nothing to do but suddenly I had the idea to go out and get something to eat since I was hungry and my paycheck just came in. I put on a pair of sock which have been dirty from wearing them a few days in a row then I slip on my shoes. Not before I lock my door for the unnecessary safety of my things, I turn off all the lights to conserve energy and walked out my door to lock it. I walk up the steps, hungry for the crispy tenderness of chicken fingers and a tangy side of sauce served within the new chicken restaurant of 14th and P street. As I reach the top, I realize it’s a bright and warm sunny day, a day of which is perfect for a walk, which I did earlier today.
I walk past my neighbors and see the old woman who usually visits my neighbor who is also elderly named Mae. “Hello! How are you doing today?” I said to the lady.
“I’m doing fine, thank you!” The white haired woman replied.
“Where’s Mae today?” I asked because I noticed that her car was missing and I thought she would be off however it was strange to see her friend there when I didn’t see her.
“She’s in there.” Said Mae’s friend as she points to her front door. As she pointed, Mae started to step out. I see her and give her a friendly wave. She waves back.
“Hi!” Mae said politely.
“Hey there!” I replied to Mae. Mae looked like she was going to say something but I let my mouth burst out and say, “I’m going on a little walk today!” I said loudly, not telling her the details of my directive and without letting her say something. I do that a lot sometimes and I feel like that might be a little rude.
“Oh that’s nice, have fun!” Mae said politely once more.
“I will. Thanks!” I replied and took off to selfishly satisfy my hunger.
I reach P street and I turned right towards west and I continue walking. As I walk, my ankles were still sore from standing hours on end for the job I work at from the day before. As I walk down on P street, I see a dark skinned older gentleman who is talking to a few people as they walk by but doesn’t leave his spot. Maybe he knew those people but couldn’t leave his spot because he was waiting for something. Maybe he was waiting for the bus. A bus usually stops by that location. Or maybe, this man was homeless and he was asking those people for money.
The very thought of this man being homeless almost makes me cringe with fear. After all, I ran into another homeless man who was white and said he “hated me.” I was so scared in that moment, thinking that the other man was going to harm or something. He looked like he could possibly kill someone and the way he approached me was very suspicious. He kept his hand behind his back like he was going to pull a weapon on me and I became even more frightened. What’s worse was that I didn’t have much money at the time but he was still able to talk me into giving him some cash. After that moment, I was frightened and angry towards any man who appeared to be homeless. I was angry because I felt obligated to give something yet I was person who needed that same something but I gave this man from my past some cash anyway.
Now, as I saw this man who looked like he was asking people for some change, that same fear didn’t exist because now, I do have some money to give and if this man would ask me to give, I could possibly give it to them. Unfortunately however, I didn’t have any money with me at the moment and because I didn’t have any money, I thought about walking a different path to ignore him all together. But my path was a selfish one on to satisfy personal hunger. Besides, I shouldn’t be afraid of based upon their appearance. He may not even be homeless.
I continue down my path and as came to him, I greeted him and asked how he was doing. He said he was doing fine and asked me the same thing. I told him that I was doing fine but that’s when the elderly dark skinned man got curious and asked if I was really doing fine and asked me for a favor. At that moment, I started to get a little nervous. There was no doubt in my mind that this man was homeless. And that the only reason why he would stop me was to ask for some money. In a way, I have money but was I willing to give it to him. I would find out moments later.
“What do you need?” I said foolishly even though I know what he needs.
“I need some help man, a lot of help. I need you to give up some of your cash to help he get things going in life, can you do that? I only ask for five dollars.” The poor man pleaded. I knew it! He did need money! And here I was thinking he was waiting for the bus. At that point, people would try to politely say they can’t offer him anything, or ignore him or just run away screaming. I didn’t do any of those things. I’m not exactly a no person so I let my positivity stand its ground and ultimately choosing to help this man but I didn’t have any money on me. I told this man that I didn’t have any money but he was bold enough to say “I don’t believe you.” I tried to offer him what little I had but it wasn’t enough. Finally I told him that I was on my way to an atm to get some money and that’s when he said that he’ll come with me. Feeling slightly pressured but happy to assist, I let him tag along. He then confessed that he didn’t need five but twenty, something that could help him a lot better to get his life up and running.
On our little quest to get cash, he started talking about his days in Vietnam and how much of a hell it was to live through. He also talked about the things that are going on today and how all the things that ISIS was doing was making him angry. I totally understood him. We both had an understanding that the world should be more loving than being a hateful world. The world would certainly be a better place if it were more loving.
Then the man talked about a mind-blowing event in his life. He talked about a time when he was more than willing to donate a ton of cash when he had the cash. Okay, that was interesting but that wasn’t the mind-blowing part. He said to me about a time when he gave about $100,000 dollars to the University of Nebraska. This man who was very poor and needed some money to get by in life and he said that he gave so much to an institute of education and I’m standing there thinking, “Wait what? Holly S@#%! That’s a lot of freeking money! Why on earth would he give so much away? Scratch that, why on Earth are people like him are being forgotten?” It just threw me off that this guy had given so much away and yet was living a broken and desperate life style. Right then and there, I knew I had to help this man.
The man who I was directing towards where I get cash also talked about his family that he had a wife and kids and by the sound of how much this man loved his woman, that woman was very beautiful. He talked about when finding love; we got to do whatever it takes to put the other before us. I definitely knew what he was talking about, that’s something that I want to do for a woman and I told him that that’s what I want to do for a woman but I didn’t tell him the struggle of finding a woman to love. I didn’t think he would understand that sort of thing and if we talked about it, it could have led to conflict which I want to avoid when walking with a stranger.
“Do you have family?” The older man asked.
“Why yes I do. I have a dad, a brother and sister…” I said explaining my family situation before the man would interrupt me.
“No, no, no! I mean personal family. You seem like a family person.” The man said assuming that I may have kids of my own. To me, that was a flattering quote but unfortunately, I didn’t have a family of my own like he described.
“No, I’m afraid not. I also have a half-brother who I love like he was my own.” I explained to the man.
“Ah! That’s good. Family is the most important thing in the world.” The man replied.
“I would like to one day and maybe even marry someone who already has kids. I do love being with kids.” I went on. The man beside me was pleased to hear about what was willing to do for a woman. Given from his reaction, he has probably done a similar thing for his family and knows that he loves them very much.
Finally we both reach the bank which I can withdraw money from and we make it to the atm. The man stays behind a bit and waits patiently for me to acquire some cash. At this point, I started to worry. Recently I was given a new card, a temporary card for which my payment from my job goes to and I only activated a few days before. I was worried that because it was only temporary, it would work on the atm and that our little journey was for nothing. Not giving up hope, I put my money card into the slot to read my information. It was processing, then asked for my pin number and I punched in the numbers which led me to different amount and payment choices. So far so good, I select balances to see what was on my card. When the atm gave me the amount which is on my card, I then selected withdrawal from the machine. It gave me a selection of withdrawal amount options and I remember when the man said that he needed twenty earlier, I selected the forty dollar option. I figure that would be enough for him to save and to get up and running again. After I selected that option, the machine spat out the forty dollars as I intend the machine to pay and gave myself a loud “Wahoo!” Because I knew I can help the man which his desperate situation.
I walked over to him to deliver the good news and gave it to him. The man was amazingly grateful for what I had done for him and he gave me tight hugs and kisses on the cheek for his gratitude. I was slightly uncomfortable by that gesture but I didn’t care. I loved the fact that I could bring someone hope and joy just by giving so little to him. It wasn’t exactly little on my behalf but for the most part, most people who have money would call it little.
The man kept hugging me and kissing me on the cheek for his gratitude. Words could not even explain to how happy he was. He kept on saying thank you and God bless you and I said the same to him. I also wished him luck on his journey with God and started to walk away. As I walked away, the man started singing with joy for what I have done. I couldn’t help but laugh at how happy he was. I find people’s joy and happiness to be a bit humorous.
As we both part our separate ways, I head back home, knowing that the journey I was currently on would put me into financial trouble.