Have you ever played out a scenario in your head, smiled and thought…this will be perfect? Well my brother and I did such a thing and we were highly disappointed with the end result.
During the winter season, my brother and I deliver split firewood to customers. We split the wood, load the truck, head out down the road and find our address. We are notorious for grazing along the way. Quick biscuit, coffee or maybe a Gatorade or 2. Oh and throw in a good ole scratch ticket for good measure.
On the way back from a delivery into Richmond we were halted by a red light. On this particular morning, it was about 20 degrees out with the wind chill. Being first in line at the light, we had a clear view of a bundled up man holding a cardboard sign. We couldn’t make out what the sign said, but no need. We understood. My brother was driving. We looked at the man and made a decision. Help him out. Not by throwing money, but buying him a cup of hot coffee and a biscuit. We both have never helped a person on the street. Something felt right about it. It was cold out.
We head on through the light. As we pull into McDonald’s we see another person with a sign. Are they related? Working a scheme to make money? This was a woman, clearly looking cold. Her sign. “Homeless”. Well, we can’t just ignore her. We headed to the drive thru and got 2 biscuits and 2 coffees.
We circle back around and head over to the first guy on the street. We will call him Homeless Man or HM for short. As we come to a stop, I roll down my window, extend my arms out with a hot biscuit and coffee. The following unfolds in an awkward moment.
Me: Hey, you hungry? You want a biscuit and hot coffee?
HM: Naw man. I need some coin to get to the city.
Me: You don’t want a biscuit? I got creamer for the coffee? You sure you don’t want it?
HM: Naw, Naw man just need some coin.
Me: Man, you positive? Its cold out.
HM: Naw man. Hey, whatcha got man? What else you got in there? You got any sugar?
Me: No, just creamer. You want it?
HM: Naw, man, I just need some coin.
Remember folks, its 20 degrees out. At this point my brother is slowly pulling away. My brother says to me. “Forget him man, let’s go.”
I couldn’t agree more. What a waste of time. I could not fathom how someone could turn down food and coffee. Hot food and hot coffee at that. Hell, just hold the cup and warm up your hands. Who cares. Save the biscuit for later. Or just take it, say thanks and never eat or drink it. Maybe he wasn’t hungry or didn’t want coffee, but his actions said otherwise. He was on the streets with a sign, clearly with no place to go.
We head out, clearly disturbed by this. Time to test the waters again on the homeless lady. We will call her Homeless Lady, or HL for short. The following took place.
Same scenario. We pull up with biscuit and coffee out the window.
Me: You want a biscuit and hot coffee?
HL: Thank you thank you! Lord thank you!
Me: Hey, you like some creamer with the coffee?
HL: Yes sir. Lord bless you. Thank you fellas. Lord bless you guys! Thank you!
We drive off. We quickly turn around and head back towards her and back onto the main road. As we pass, you can see her eating the biscuit and coffee in hand. As we pass, she gives a good ole “Forest Gump” wave. She was happy as could be. I do feel that my brother and I did help someone out that day. For the other fellow, I hope he makes it to the city some how and finds a way to stay warm.
As far as the food the man didn’t accept. Well, I had a nice warm cup of coffee and my brother had himself a biscuit.
Have you ever had a moment like this? Do you help people holding cardboard signs?
For me, my helping days are one and done.