Anytime I leave the house, I try to remember to grab a Bag of Hope to take with me...just in case I see a homeless person. Just in case...is kind of a running joke between DH and me because he knows that the minute I get in the car and leave the neighborhood I'm going to take a right at the stop light...when my errands are actually to the left ;) BUT to the right is the WalMart shopping center near our neighborhood and that's where I look every time for the homeless.
I take the first entrance INTO the shopping center so that I can take the next entrance OUT...here is where I have to STOP before making the left turn...and this is what I usually see!
Is is wrong that I get SAD when I don't see anyone standing or sitting there? I swear my heart starts beating faster when I come to this stop sign! Today was a cold day and they don't always come out when the weather is too bad. Look close now...
Yep that's Sid! He's sitting down on his ruck sack holding his sign...I assume trying to stay low and out of the wind. Either that or because it's around 3:00 in the afternoon and there is not a lot of traffic around this time of day...hence why I'm out doing my errands ;)
As cars start to approach the exit, however, Sid stands up and holds his sign up for everyone to see.
When I hand him his Bag of Hope he thanks me with a very sweet voice and looks startled when I ask him his name...as most of the homeless tend to do. So when he looks up, I look him in the eye and ask him again. "Hello, my name is Roberta, what is your name?" "Sid", he answers. And so I respond, "Thank You Sid, and God Bless You." He thanks me back, smiles and nodds as if he were going to tip his hat to me and off I drove.
Of course...not without catching a peek back at him checking out his Bag of Hope.
That was on Wednesday and when I had to go out again on Friday...I immediately recognized him there sitting on his bag again.
Traffic was heavier...probably because it was a Friday...so I didn't have as much time to get a good clear photo. I recognized Sid...but he didn't recognize me (of course) until I rolled down my window and handed him another Bag of Hope and shouted out, "Hello Sid, how are you today?" To which he smiled and answered back, "Just fine Mame. Thank you so much!" Then off I drove again...cause traffic was being such a pain!
Fast forward to yesterday, Wednesday, and I was actually surprised when I came around the corner and saw Sid sitting there AGAIN. Usually I do not get the same homeless people that many days in a row...for weeks in a row...capish? I don't know if they draw straws back at camp or what...but I may get the same person once a week for a few weeks and then they disappear for months on end before I see them again.
For Sid to still be here, I was really shocked, because his sign read something like...Traveler Stranded...Need ANY Help to Get Back Home. So yesterday, when I rolled down my window he recognized me and as I handed him his bag he said, "Thanks Mame, God Bless You." It never ceases to amaze me when they offer me Blessings! To which I replied, "Hey Sid what are you still doing here?" You know like we were old friends...he probably thinks...who is this crazy lady asking me "what am I still doing here!"
But he didn't act irritated at all (maybe because I recognized him and called him by his name and treated him like he mattered) and in fact he smiled really wide and answered, "I've almost got enough to get home now...maybe one more day." So I simply said "Good Luck" because there wasn't enough time for more conversation.
But as I drove off and made my u-turn at the next light so that I could go run my errands, I kept thinking about Sid and HOW MUCH more he needed to get home. For some reason it bothered me! Sid reminded me of my oldest son, because I really don't think he is much older than him, and alls I could think was "what if my son was stranded somewhere...would some stranger help him out?" I'd like to think they would and deep down I really do believe that.
The entire time that I was running my errands...into Dollar Tree for food containers for shipping goodies to my family, tanning at the salon (talk about feeling out of perspective ;) and lastly into Michael's for more packaging products...I was having a mental conversation with myself about Sid.
As I was driving back home and in the direction of Sid, I made a mental BET with myself that, "if he is still standing there then, I will give him $20.00 bucks cash". I was also having a mental conversation with myself about what my DH would think of me doing this! So I made sure that my pocketbook was placed in the back seat on the floor...out of site and out of reach...cause DH thinks about things like this ;)
When I came around the corner, I have to say that I was a bit crushed to find someone new standing at the corner. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sid laying on the grass on the opposite corner. So I drove around to that side of the parking lot and rolled down my window and shouted out his name. Sid looked up, as if shocked to hear his name being called out, saw me, and then came on over to the side of the car. I handed him the twenty dollars and asked him if he now had enough to get home.
Sid smiled wide again and said, "I think so. I'm hoping to catch a bus tomorrow". So I asked him, "where is your home?" To which he responded, "New York". Being even more curious, I asked him, "how did you end up here?" He said, "I have a little girl in NY to get home to. There is no work there so I went to Florida for a job and now I'm making my way back home." Wow...I thought...and you know what...something about this guy was believable. So I said, "well, I wish you the best" Sid acted like he wanted to say more but didn't. So I said "good luck and good bye" and he thanked me again and I rolled up my window and drove off.
This is a story about a man named Sid and how he gave me hope. Hope for his future and hope that others will reach out and give hope to one another.