Most people around the country see homeless people every day. You may be sympathetic to them or you may be the type to tell them to “get a job.” I don’t understand the plight of the homeless. It something I’ve never dealt with personally. I have helped them in small ways but never really took time to talk to them. I was walking home from a Sunday Funday this past week and I saw a homeless man. We had a small conversation.
His name was Bo. His name was the first thing I asked him. Forgive me, but I forgot where he was from originally. Then, I asked the question I’d never thought I’d ask a person who didn’t have any place to call home. I asked him, “how did you get to be homeless?” He said he was laid off of his job about 6 months ago. He used to work in construction. When he lost his job, he struggled to get work. He and his wife also were having issues at that time. He was even currently, going through a divorce. He said his wife was saying another man’s name while they were in bed together and cheating on him. He had enough and left her. He had been homeless for 4 months.
I told him I was sorry and continued chatting with him. I asked him if he needed anything. I didn’t have anything at the time but I could get him a pair of clean socks ect. He said he was fine and didn’t need anything. He posted himself a bit off 6th and Brazos. He never went to the shelter downtown because of all the addicts are down there. He finds a safe place to sleep every night and that’s that. His only possessions were two medium size backpacks. It’s insane to me that all some people have is a bag or two. I also had to know another personal thing…how did he get use to the begging and foraging for food in Austin? He told me that it was just a survival thing. You just have to do it.
For his terrible situation, he didn’t seem as down and out as I thought he would be before I started chatting with him. In fact, he said there was an opportunity for work in his near future. He just had to go the office and fill out the paper work. He said he was going to go Monday or Tuesday. I even said, “promise me you’ll go…please?” Will he go to that office for work? Who knows really. He said he would and I hope he does for his own sake. He was a nice man and deserves some form of small success.
I’ve always believed can you give something to a person who is homeless even if it’s not money or food. You can give a smile or even a friendly hello. They are often ignored and forgotten. People forget they once had a life that wasn’t on the street. You don’t have to be their best friend; just treat them like another human being. You may meet a very nice person who just wants to talk for a moment because they are lonely.