Sounds ironic, doesn’t it? How could “he who don’t own home” be capable of housing “he who own home?” Confucius can’t even provide understanding on this matter so I suppose I’ll have to explain further.
I typically take about an hour each day to escape from the office. Even if you’re swamped, I think it’s extremely important to break away (at least for a little bit) to clear your head and think about non-work related tasks.
My hour will usually consist of eating a sandwich, blogging, and running routine errands.
You could argue that I should pack my lunch and eat it in the office but then I won’t get my necessary escape. I’ll still be bothered by co-workers and “asked to look at this real quick.” So I’ll usually take my $5 to a nearby eatery and indulge in my love for sandwiches.
Yesterday, it was Subway. (Related Article: Life Is A Subway Sandwich)
I was leaving work to take my usual lunch break. As I was walking into Subway, I was approached by a man in his mid-to-late forties. I don’t like to judge somebody before I speak to them, but (as he approached) I knew exactly what he was going to say. I just had a feeling.
“Excuse me, excuse me. Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, you can ask me anything.”
“You think I could get a couple bucks? I’m trying to catch the bus so I can go to a job fair.”
I wanted to steal a line from Macauley Culkin and say “I believe you, but my tommy gun don’t.” There was zero chance he was going to use my donation to look for a job; but he knew it was probably what I wanted to hear. In all reality, he’s going to take my change to the ABC store and buy a handle of bourbon. He may not be one of the 5 People That Will Make You Smarter, but he knew what he doing. This is no bum…well, wait.
“I would rather buy you lunch than give you money.”
“You said you would buy me lunch.”
“I did, didn’t I?”
So the hobo followed me into Subway like a puppy following their mother.
“Can we go somewhere else?”
“Have you ever heard the saying – beggars can’t be choosers?”
“Can I get a foot long?
“You can get a six inch.”
My Lunch Date
I had my doubts that maybe I was getting played. Maybe my lunch date wasn’t actually homeless. Maybe he works around the corner and was just trying to land a free lunch. But all doubts were removed when I saw what this guy ordered. The sub almost didn’t close. It was filled with every add-on vegetable. This guy was clearly hungry.
For whatever reason, I assumed that I would buy his lunch and then we would part ways. Instead, he popped a squat across from me and we talked as if we were friends that were catching up.
I found myself genuinely curious. What life event could have led to his downward spiral? What’s it like to be homeless? What’s it like to have to ask someone half your age to buy your next meal?
He explained to me that he moved to Charlotte from Syracuse. He was a chef/cook and that’s where his passion lies. He gave up that dream and headed South to take care of his father. His father passed away in November.
This could be complete bullshit but it was interesting nonetheless.
Readers: Have you ever taken a homeless person to lunch? Have you ever had a beggar disgusted by you wanting to give them food rather than money?