July 23, 2015

Too Busy to Help: Street Angels

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For those of you who did not see it, while I was on my trip to New York for the blogging conference that I was lucky enough to afford, my mother met an amazing man.

His name is Alexander (yes, he gave me permission to blog his story), a 63 year old homeless man who my mother watched several people walk around him or completely ignore him while they stood in a line to buy a $8 sandwich from the local food truck, not even offering the change to him.

Mr. Alexander spent 21 years serving the youth of New York as a teacher.  He lost his wife a few years back and was admitted into the hospital for his own health issues.  Due to this, he lost his home because he could not afford it anymore and his home has been the streets of Manhattan since.

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He spends his days to himself except when he is hungry and will just sit right by the food truck in hopes that someone will offer him enough money to get something to eat or offer him something to eat.

My mother connected with Mr. Alexander by watching some many people walk around him to avoid him and not even say a word to him.  She walked over and handed him a $5 bill.  He then told her thank you and that he would be getting himself a pair of socks with that money because the ones he had was falling apart.  After that is when Mr. Alexander opened up to us and told us his story.

He is not a man that drinks or does drugs, he was just down on his luck.  I feel the worse part about this experience is the fact that there was another man 10 feet from where Alexander was who was pretending to be homeless and was begging everyone for money.  He would walk up to people or as people walked past him and ask if they had any money they could spare.  I watched one man hand him $20 and several other people had him a couple dollars here and there.  This all happened for about 1 hour and a half until I got fed up and Alexander went "home".

That day, because of my mother and her wonderful heart, Alexander was able to get a pair of socks, have a cup of coffee and eat a hot meal.  My mother left him with something to think about as well...she told him that the reason people avoid him is because they see a little bit of themselves in him.  They fear that they could end up like him....homeless, sleeping on the street, and having to beg someone to have mercy on them just so they can eat.

But, I walked away from that with something too.  Everyone has a story and everyone deserves the respect of even just sitting down for a conversion.  After all, most of us are all one paycheck away from being homeless.  Mr. Alexander is a street angel, he is intelligent and is polite with morals, even though he has nothing, he does not let that discourage him and have him out there robbing people.  My mother is just a real-life angel in my eyes and this situation just proved it.

So, before you walk by a homeless person, first check them out.  Check to see if there is something you could offer that person....and it doesn't have to be money.

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-Rambling Holly

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