My long time blogging buddy Colleen posted today about her experience with a homeless man. It brought to mind my own experience.
Way back in the fall of 1996 I was living in McAllen Texas. I loved Texas. Palm trees lined the streets and southern living was pleasant.
There were few homeless people that I saw. It wasn’t like Toronto where pedestrians walk along busy streets sidestepping and ignoring the humanity who sleep right on the very walks, usually over heat grates.
There was one fellow in particular that I would see occasionally standing on street corners holding a sign. I never stopped to make a donation but something about him stayed with me. He had an open face, intelligent eyes, a bearing of dignity. Have you ever seen or met anyone and somehow you know you are linked or have a link to that person? It was the strangest feeling but after a few seconds my mind would shift to the real world.
One evening I found I had some winning tickets, probably scratch not lottery, and headed out to a local store to claim my funds. As I was entering the store this fellow was coming out. I suddenly felt an urgency but it was ill defined.
I quickly got my money, probably about fifty dollars, and clutching the bills in my left hand got in my car and found myself searching for this gent. I drove around blocks looking for him. Honestly it felt like I had no choice. Finally I saw him sitting on the ground with his back to a brick wall. I pulled over, parked my car and approached him. His jaw fell open as I quickly mumbled something like, ‘I just won this.” I handed him the bills, got in my car and drove away, almost immediately forgetting the whole thing.
I was driven, what I had to do was clear. I actually forgot about that incident until I read Colleen’s post. I don’t think I ever thought of it again. I could really have used that money at the time, but it was never a consideration. The message was clear, it wasn’t mine anyway, it was his.
I don’t know what ever happened to him or what difference it made in his life if any. Somehow, beyond my role, it was none of my business.
The only time it came to mind was about six months later. By then I was back in Canada and I had bought a scratch ticket. I won ten thousand dollars. A memory flash somehow connected both events. Probably conjecture on my part. But I just can’t get rid of the feeling…..