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Have you ever talked to a homeless person? Like had a real conversation?
A lot of people say things about giving to the poor and changing the world. Nothing out of the ordinary. But let me ask you again, have you actually ever had a conversation with a homeless person? Do you even consider them a person?
I’m not trying to be mean. I’ve been asked the very same questions.
As a Freshman in college, I had my first experience befriending the homeless. A few of my friends from our Christian fellowship used to meet homeless people once a week. How they found the time I’ll never know, but they did. They would simply get together to make peanut butter-jelly sandwiches and walk the streets of Boston handing them out to people.
One of these days, I joined. In Boston, there are homeless people everywhere. Everywhere.
As we strolled the streets, we would hand out the sandwiches. Some people were sleeping, so we quietly laid the PB&Js next to sleeping heads. Others were allergic, so we gave them jelly sandwiches. Many were very happy and grateful that students (of all people) would bother to take time out of their day to not only make but distribute food! This was one of the seeds in my life that have given the homeless a place in my heart.
Towards the end of our night, we went to South Station. My friend Luke wanted to go see a friend of his, who soon became my first homeless friend. He was an older gentleman. John was pretty well kept minus the beard he had that he tied at the end into a sort of upside-down heart. Luke began talking as we began to listen and just enjoy the moment. As we listened I saw that John was an awesome guy. Being a former computer scientist, he had somehow kept very sharp but couldn’t get a job due to his lifestyle.
A new character appeared; another homeless guy named Wayne. John opened the box in front of us and waved Wayne over. Magically with paper plates in hand, he looked at us and said, “Do you want some pizza?”
To this day, being offered food by a homeless guy was one of the most ironic and weirdest situations of my life. We came to give out PB&Js, and instead were being offered fresh hot pizza!
I’m debating whether or not to include this part, but it even seemed there was a hierarchy in the world of the homeless. They definitely did help each other out as was the case with Wayne. But John was sick and tired of what he referred to as “vultures.” A lady named Mary came out of nowhere within minutes asking for slices of pizza. John told her off, calling her names. I was even more confused, but I realized because we are human we will always be bickering and have differences to settle…
I went home that day happy I decided to come. Since that day I’ve often gone back throughout the 4 years I was in Boston to say hello to John. He wasn’t always there. But each time I did see him he sat in the same chair, often with Wayne by his side. He would write my number down and the next time I saw him would always tell me he had lost it. Often because the police kicked him out and got rid of his stuff. He never did call me like he said he would.
Did I get anything out of this? Not physically. Nothing more than joy. All that mattered was loving the homeless, out loud.
Enjoyed the story? There’s more on the way and there are some already written in my FREE eBook that you can find here! ‘Till next week!