Act of kindness #7: I usually do not share stories like the one I’m about to share but I really hope that those who come across this could get something out of it. If you’re from Chicago you know about the polar vortex weather we’re having, schools have been closed and people are advised to stay inside. Today I went down to the city for an event and took advantage of the trip to walk around and visit the homeless.
Last year I came 2 times a month and handed out sandwiches. Thanks to this I was able to meet some very nice homeless people like Danny, James and Bryon that I now call my friends and visit them often.
I went to the target on S State St. & bought some socks and went out to find these guys. After 20 minutes I began getting cold and my head started hurting but I didn’t care.
I came across many homeless people. I passed out socks to who ever wanted a pair or two. I have no idea how they are able to survive with such extreme weather.
After a while I was down to 2 pairs of socks left and my legs were hurting and my face burned. I stood in the corner of E Monroe St & S State St upset that I didn’t find any of my guys. But I figured that they must have found shelter.
Just as I was about to head back to the loop & get on the green-line train a guy walking across the street from me caught my attention. He was walking fast limping and slouching and I saw him holding a cardboard sign. It was obvious he was homeless.
Something inside me told me to follow him and I did. I followed him for 3 blocks trying to catch up with him & get a glimpse of his face. He entered a McDonald’s & at first I wasn’t sure if I should follow him inside.I felt like a creep stalking someone.
So I stood outside the fancy Mcd’s for a minute before again something told me to go inside and look at his face. I was not going to leave Chicago without being sure it wasn’t one of my guys.
So I went inside & sure enough it was Bryon! Who I had not seen since early November of last year. I found him crying & I ran to him and yelled “OMG Bryon I found you!” I was so happy to see him. He was crying because he didn’t have gloves and his body was freezing. Bryon has lung cancer and thought he was going to die before thanksgiving last year but look at him his still breathing!
I immediately offered to buy him food & coffee. He’d been sitting out all morning and only had .20 cents.
We sat in a booth and talked for 2 hours and when I offered to buy him another burger he said “no come on look at me I’m a little man.” lol.
We both shared some personal stories that brought us to tears. He shared with me about a time when he wanted to go to Sunday mass but was prohibited from entering the church for not having the “appropriate attire,” this story broke my heart. He was not able to enter the house of god even though his invited.
We had a heated conversation about the low gas prices today, oil wars, pesticides, King Jon-un, college being expensive, heroin addicts, not enough shelter homes in Chicago & greedy white old men (congress). Bryon is hilarious!
People stared at us & kept giving him dirty looks (we saw you idiots). Mcd’s workers kept walking by on purpose.(TF?)
Bryon said “when you’re out there people walk right by you & ignore you, they pretend like you don’t exist. Society gave us a bad name.” Has it ever crossed your mind that a homeless person would really like just a hug?
He thanked me for going out to look for him and said “no one has ever done that for me, you made my day.” We stared at each other for a long time smiling ♥
I gave him $3 and that was enough for him to get on the blue-line train & ride it back and forth for the night, he didn’t want to accept more money from me.
He cleaned out his backpack and gave me an extra tooth brush and some tooth paste he had & said “for when you go back to college.” lol.
Next time I see him, we planned that I would drive him to his family in Belmont, IN who do not know his been homeless for the past 2 years.
Go talk to some homeless people, You will learn a lesson from them that you will never learn from a professor in college!