Homeless +Acts of Kindness

The homeless population holds a special place in my heart. You see when I was growing up there was a period of time that I didn’t have a roof over my head. No one in school knew and would have never guessed it! No one would have guessed it! To this day when I tell someone, their jaw drops and as I sit here this second I have a family member who has no home.  Before you jump to conclusions, my home is always open to them…but for their own personal reasons they do not wish to leave where they are and come to my home.  I don’t have to agree with their reasons but I must respect their reasons.

I am all to aware of the fact that we are all just one wrong turn, one move, one devastating tragedy or event away from being homeless. We often walk around thinking it will never happen to me….but the truth is  you never know what card’s you are going to get dealt in life.

Life is messy. Life is unpredictable and you just never know what sudden turn or event is going to change your life forever (be it positive or not!). So, the homeless population holds a special place in my heart.

Last year July 2015 my family and I took a vacation to Colorado.  We have gone there several times and each time we travel around the state to several different places.  This time, we went to Colorado Springs. There was a really cool parkour event going on downtown.  We sort of stumbled upon the event and of course our 3 kids were hooked! So we spent virtually the entire day there in the park playing on the playground and watching the parkour competition and of course for the next few weeks EVERY WHERE WE WENT the kids were doing their own “awesome” version of parkour while excitedly yelling parkour 🙂

Anyhow, we went to dinner a few blocks away from the park/parkour competition. Like always, my food came and I immediately boxed half of it. I had ordered some vegetarian wrap sandwich thing.  I wrapped half of it up and saved some of the dipping sauce and chips that came with it.  Ate my other half….the whole time boasting about how good it was and was looking forward to eating my other half later!

We finished eating and went back to the park with my leftovers in hand.  As we got there my teen and I quickly spotted a younger man who was clearly homeless going through the trash cans. He would pick up bags of chips and rub his hands inside the bag to get the little crumbs and eat it. He picked up subway wrappers for crumbs. This man was HUNGRY!! He wasn’t faking it. He wasn’t standing on the side of the road “begging” for money and then leaving you to wonder is he really getting food. He was HUNGRY!! My son and I sat there for a few minutes and both sort of got teary eyed at how hungry he must be. I grabbed my husband and handed him my left over dinner and said, go ask this guy if he would like it. Let him know that I haven’t touched that half…. it was important to me. I didn’t want him to feel like I was giving him some of my half eaten food. I wanted him to know that he was a human and worth a true meal not some half eaten garbage.

They took my food over to him and he was quick to grab it and immediately sat down and within what seemed like seconds it was gone. My son watched him and commented as the guy scrapped every last drop of ranch dressing and crumb out of the container.

Meanwhile I am feeling “bad” because of all the food we had left over it was my boring crappy no meat dish and it was only half the dish at that. 🙂

I looked at my husband and son and saw a subway across the street while I stayed in the park with the kids.  I told them, go ask if he would like to get something else to eat. They walked him to subway. As he was ordering he tried to order a 6 inch sub and my husband told him, no- get a foot long, heck get 2! The guy was in shock.  Then bought him 2 footlong subs, some chips, and a drink and a $20 gift card.  They sat with him for a few minutes as he shared a bit of his story and how he has ended up on the streets.

It was a conversation piece for the rest of the evening. More in an educational way and me for the first time ever sharing my story with my son of how I once was “homeless” and didn’t have a home as a kid. This man was on my mind and heart all day and night long. Low and behold the next day we saw the same guy walking into a 7-11 gas station that was about a 15 minute car ride from where we saw him the day before. It was nice to see him again. I still think about him often.

It was a valuable educational piece for our children, especially the teen.  It was a reminder of how we take things for granted.  That half a sub we throw away because it had mayo and we said no mayo or the chips we toss because they are “stale” …someone else would eat those things and not complain one bit. In fact, they would be grateful. Makes you realize life is really about perspective sometimes and being grateful versus entitled.

This story came to my heart today as I came across this story: You can make a difference—homeless acts of kindness

I challenge you to take opportunities to connect and make a difference in someone’s life. Next time you see someone rooting through trash for a meal or sitting looking sad and down in life, rather than judge them, be thankful for what you have in life, grab their hand–TREAT THEM LIKE A HUMAN BECAUSE THEY ARE, and feed their bellies!