Today when driving back from Sweet Tomatoes, I saw a tall black man on the side of the road near where I live, with a “Homeless Vet-Please Help” sign. I see a few people like this a few times every month, and usually am not in a position to help.
Today was different.
I got back home, got a nice cold mango drink from the fridge, some large chunky chocolate chip cookies from Whole Foods, and $20 (which I found in my pockets a few hours earlier) and ran to where that guy was.
I told him it wasn’t much, but turned out he was really hungry and the way his eyes lit up when I showed him the 4 chocolate chip cookies….man, that was worth it alone. He said that I had actually helped him so much-and then he told me his story.
A few years ago, he was living in Pittsburgh. His 11 year old daughter went to a local middle school there, and he was very proud of her. One night, she went to a birthday party on a pier, and she was pushed/fell in, and ended up drowning. Nobody apparently dove in to rescue her or try. Because of that, his wife had a nervous breakdown and had to be institutionalized. In order to cover the hospital bills, their house had to be foreclosed, and this man ended up here. In Pleasant Hill, California, with his wife in a mental hospital and his daughter dead.
He told me his daughter’s name-Jasmine Jones, and said that if I ever was in Pittsburgh and looked at some old newspapers, I’d see her mentioned.
I told him I wouldn’t forget her-so I came back here and googled for a bit, and found this.
…..Yesterday’s events and today’s events have only reinforced my understanding of how short and unpredictable our lives are. Our stories intermingle for the most fleeting moments, yet we are all forever changed because of that.
Share your stories. Listen to others. Become a part of theirs, and they become a part of yours.
Listen, learn, help, share.
The link where his daughter is mentioned: http://www.livedash.com/transcript/cbs_5_eyewitness_news_on_the_cw_44/1224/KBCW/Sunday_June_6_2010/324251/