In my neck of the woods, you’ll find different homeless people by the freeway each morning. Some you’ll see on a regular basis, some come and go, some you’ll see once and never again. But since I moved here in 2008, there’s been this one older guy in a wheelchair I usually see either at my exit, or over near the tollway. He’s an amputee; I have no idea what happened. He’s old enough to be a disabled vet from Vietnam, but that may not be why he’s disabled. He could have lost his legs for any number of reasons. Regardless, he rarely has a sign. He always has a smile on his face and he waves to everyone as though he’s just saying hello. He doesn’t care if you give him money, he just want’s contact with someone. Money would be nice, I’m sure…
This is the one person I want to help when I do see him. I worry about this guy when I don’t see him. Sometimes weeks may go by and I’ll notice he hasn’t been there. I’ll wonder if something happened to him. Then he’ll appear again, smiling and waving to everyone as they drive by.
I saw him yesterday. Time was with me, and so was traffic. I pulled over and got out of the car. I didn’t have much cash on me – just the change I keep in the little drawer of my Honda, but I gave him all I had. I went up to him and told him hi, said I hadn’t seen him in a while and it was good to see him again. He got a huge smile on his face. I told him to take care of himself, and to have a good day, and walked away.
I wanted to do more. I couldn’t, but I wanted to.