Lessons From Adam

Adam and I often walk up to the mall that is down the street. Sometimes we go with no mission, sometimes we’re out to pick something up.

Recently there has been a man sitting at the mall. It would be safe to assume he’s homeless. He has a large duffle bag with him and looks unkept.

Being the horrible person I am I avoid eye contact. I really don’t want him to ask me for anything. I am uncomfortable walking by.

The other day when we were waking by Adam said hello to him and started talking to him. I kept walking and the man mentioned he had 3 kids of his own. If this is true or not I don’t know but his sad face had a smile on it.

When I walked back past on the way home I wished him a nice day and went on my way.

This weeks when I walked by him Adam and I both said hello. We started talking about the weather and he said he was awfully cold that night sleeping outside.

My heart sank a bit thinking about sleeping outside. This man who I walked by weekly and I tried so hard to ignore suddenly became visible.

The cynical side of me started to question why didn’t he go to one of the shelters in the city? Or does he have no one to help him. Is he abusing the system because I’ve seen many panhandlers wear nicer clothes then mind, drive nicer cars and make more an hour pretending to be homeless and hungry then I make busting my butt unloading a truck.

When I had to take the bus to work, it was the same route that many people took to get to the food bank. They would have their boxes and bags of food sitting on their cellphones discussing going out clubbing or getting their hair done. I would get so very angry at these people. If you have to go to the food bank to eat you can’t afford such luxuries.

I avoid going downtown at all costs because you are bombarded with people asking you for change for the bus, money for smokes and then those who are asking for money for food. I’ve seen in the past people offer up food to these hungry people and they would prefer the money. If you were that hungry you’d accept anything offered to you.

This particular trip we were on a mission to get milk and bagels. I decided to buy a little extra and if that man was still there offer some to
him. He’s never once asked me for anything. So as I walked home and came upon him I crouched down and offered him some chocolate milk and some bagels. He said he managed to have some breakfast this morning but he would very much appreciate the milk
for later in the day. I gave it to him with a smile and headed home.

Something is still bothering me about the whole situation and I can’t quite figure out what it is.

I am very lucky to have what we need in life and some things that we want. We don’t always have a lot of money but we make it by.

We have family that I’m sure would offer their homes up if we found ourselves losing everything and make sure we are fed.

I’ve seen people with nothing give everything, I’ve seen people with everything give nothing.

How sad is it to find yourself with nothing and no one to help. Maybe this
man does have help but is to proud to take it.

Everyone has a story, we just don’t know it and probably in most cases don’t care to find out.

Really it could be anyone who ends up in such a situation like that. One medical emergency or a string of bad luck we could lose everything in a blink.

This week I donated both to the food bank and the United Way. The donations weren’t large but they were better then nothing.

Unfortunately this societal problem is a very large and complex one. There is no one answer to fixing it, there is no one cause causing it.

The question I have posed myself with is next time I come across this man, or another person in this situation what will I do?

I think it’s these action that will truly define the type of person I am.


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