Monday, August 5, 2013

Joe

Some will read this post and wonder why I would even bother with something like this.
This is not to create an opportunity for debate. It serves two purposes.
I want to remember the day that I ever gave something to someone on the street corner for the very first time. Most importantly, I want to remember that I gave because I was moved to do so and without judgement.

On my way back to work from dropping items at the post office, I stopped by Burger King. I would normally get a chicken sandwich or a Whopper Jr. I was not even that hungry but decided to get the  Whopper. (In hindsight, I wish I had gotten the meal.)  At the corner of Silber and I-10, I was stopped at the light. I saw a man standing there, ragged and looking beat down. He was truly dirty. Not the pseudo dirty that I see on "fake homeless" people. You know the ones. They have a backpack that doesn't even look like it held their life's possessions. They have clean hair, nice shoes and clothes with no holes.  Whenever I see these people on the corner, I judge and I judge hard. I have never given these panhandlers anything.

Not Joe. Joe was covered head to toe in filth. His eyes appeared almost closed, like he was sleep standing. His face was so brown and leathery, I was not sure if it was dirt or that his skin had baked. I don't write this about him because I judged him. I write this to show that I saw every bit of down and out in this man. In the brief 20 seconds that I observed him and read his sign, I wanted to help him. His sign asked for food. I rolled down my window and called to Joe. He walked over and I handed him my Burger King bag. He was worried he was taking my lunch. I told him he needed it more. I smiled said "God bless you" and he gave me a toothless smile and thanked me. As I drove off, I looked over and saw that he had a dog and a shopping cart so full I had no idea how he could see past it when he pushed it. I am positive those were his life's possessions.