Homeless Is Where The Heart Is, Part 7

, | Hopeless | December 2, 2016

(I am traveling by bus to downtown Phoenix, and miss my connecting bus by about one minute. That means another 29 minutes until the next bus comes along, so I go into the convenience store on the corner to get a drink because it’s an exceedingly hot day. As I am waiting in line to pay for my drink, an obviously homeless man stepped into the store.)

Homeless Man: “Excuse me, but do you take food stamps?”

Cashier: “Sorry, but we don’t.”

Homeless Man: *dejected* “Oh…Okay.”

(I pay for my drink and step outside to find the homeless man simply standing there.)

Me: “Hey… What were you hoping to buy with your food stamps in there?”

Homeless Man: “I was hoping to get a hot dog or something, ‘cause I’m really hungry and haven’t eaten in a couple of days.”

Me: “Well, the first thing you should know is that you can’t buy prepared food with food stamps. The second thing I’m just willing to share, and that’s that I was once homeless myself. That brings us to the third thing, and it’s that I want you to go inside and grab two hot dogs and a drink, because it’s REALLY hot out here. Water would probably be best.”

(We go inside and he gets himself all of the food I suggested. I pay for all of it, which amounted to under $4.00.)

Homeless Man: “Thank you SO much. I’m not used to people being this kind.”

Me: “Oh, this wasn’t free.”

Homeless Man: *worriedly* “It wasn’t?”

Me: “I have only one requirement. The next time you run into someone that needs help, and you can actually help them, do so.”

Homeless Man: *smiling* “You got it.”

(I left him to his inexpensive meal, and hope that he paid it forward eventually.)

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