Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tuesday was the day of the homeless people. It's weird since I commute mainly on the interstate, so I don't usually see many homeless folks during the work week.

The first was the resident homeless guy in the small town where I work. He seems really interesting and the people in town keep an eye out for him since everyone knows him. The little cafes make sure he has food or a hot cup of coffee and one of the churches provides him with meals and a place to sleep. He's often out and about wearing garbage bags over his clothes and tied in his hair. On Tuesday he was wearing normal clothes, but as we passed each other and said our hellos I noticed he had some long stalks of flowering grass hanging off his backpack. It looked kinda cool and made me smile.

After work I was getting into my car after stopping to run an errand and a man walked up to me and asked "Can I ask you a question?" I hesitatantly said yes figuring that he was either going to ask if I had found Jesus or he was going to ask for money. It was the latter. I told him no, since I had no cash on me (and rarely do). So he came a little closer, at which point I noticed he smelled like liquor, asked if I was sure I had no money, and I told him so. Then he told me how if he gave some guy money, the guy would let him use his hotel room to stay the night and get a hot shower.

I felt bad. I felt bad that he was in a situation where he needed to beg for money. I felt bad that I didn't help, but I also had the suspicion that the money would have gone for booze. There's the Salvation Army and a couple of ministries downtown that provide shelter and food for the homeless and he wasn't anywhere near there. There also was an ABC store attached to the parking lot where we were. I'm going to buy some gift certificates to McDonalds or someplace so next time I can at least give that.

No comments: