A few days ago on my lunch break while leaving the post office, I met a man who was sitting on the floor with his belongings. He asked if I had any spare change and I, of course, never carry cash. I was hesitant-unsure if I should offer him food or “politely” ignore his request. I decided I would offer him lunch and walked over to the pizza place a few doors down. As we were walking and talking I learned that his name is Randy and he has been homeless for five months. He’s maybe in his fifties, wearing a worn hooded sweater and jeans. He explained to me that he has a job interview in a month and was hoping it would change his situation. When I asked him why he wasn’t staying at a homeless shelter he said there weren’t very many in the area and sleeps wherever he can. I felt a bit naive to think there were numerous local shelters and that he could just go to one and sleep in a warm bed. In a perfect world that would exist. We ordered him a personal pizza with all the toppings. He was so grateful and appreciative of the meal. He told me he was hungry and God has been looking out for him the past few months because kind people like me were buying him food. He told me he understands why people don’t want to give him money and he’s very happy to accept food.
I got back into my car and as I drove off I had this feeling that there was more that I could do to make a difference in this man’s day. I pulled up next to him and he came to my passenger window. I addressed him by his name and asked him what items I could pick up for him at Target to help him get through the next few days. Words cannot describe the happiness that showed on his face. The first thing he asked for was laundry detergent so he could wash his clothes for his interview. I told him that of course I would get him that and asked him if there was any food in particular that he wanted. He was so excited and said, “Fish sticks or nuggets would be great. There is a man who lets me cook food at his house sometimes but I can’t stay or sleep there because of his family.”
I went into Target and decided to grab a few items every man needs on a daily basis. I picked up a pack of long men’s socks, laundry detergent, a travel size pack filled with a tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant, razor/shaving cream, q-tips, and body wash. I also bought a first aid kit, a towel, and baby wipes. I headed to the food section and picked up fish sticks, nuggets, bread, ham, cheese, and hot dogs. I spent money on the basic every day essentials.
When I returned his face lit up and he said, “You really hooked me up!” I told him that I didn’t have a lot I could give him but I hope that it would help him out for the next few days. A woman who came out of the post office and witnessed our exchange said, “You are a blessing, a true blessing to this man” to me. With tears in my eyes I told Randy that sometimes people don’t realize how good they have it and situations like this put things into perspective. He said he could tell that I wasn’t doing this for any other reason than me having a kind heart. I told him I would try and find some sweaters my husband was willing to donate and visit him tomorrow. He thanked me over and over.
When I got back into my car I began to cry. I wanted to do more. I knew God had put him in my path today because this morning I prayed for guidance with a personal situation that had been upsetting me and was looking for some relief. It was in this moment I knew God wanted me to meet Randy to show me that everything was going to be okay and it could always be worse. I immediately contacted Joanne, a woman’s group leader at my church (Capital Christian), and asked her to help me find a shelter for Randy. She sent me the information to a shelter in the Elk Grove area that would provide him with dinner, a bed, and breakfast for a few days.
I decided to share this story with all of you not to brag about me helping others because this is something I always try to do. I would like to bring perspective to everyone that helping others is the most simple thing we can do. I don’t expect anyone to have the same religious views as me but to try and be more compassionate and kind towards those in need. We don’t all have to go out and buy $50 worth of things for a homeless person but one small gesture can change someone’s life. Daily stressors with careers and family can sometimes cause us to get angry about the things we don’t have. We should focus on the things we do have and count our blessings because things could always be worse. Don’t get me wrong, life can be really hard but I’ve never stressed about when my next meal would be or whether or not I would have a bed to sleep in. I’ve been blessed with a loving family and it’s our job to not judge others about how they got into that position but try and make a difference in someone else’s life no matter how small or big the gesture is. I challenge anyone that reads this post to do one nice thing for a homeless person. We may not be able to change the world but we can try and make a dent in it.
Thanks for reading everyone! xo