I used to think, “I’m not giving money to the homeless; they will spend it on drugs or alcohol.” If they wanted a job, they could get one! I was so annoyed with them when I was younger when I lived in downtown Cincinnati. While some are annoying, and many aren’t homeless, but “play” homeless to rake in some serious cash at times.
Fast forward 15 years, I’m 46 now and live just outside of downtown Cincinnati in a bit of a hipster area with a good vibe. There is a handful of homeless here; I’d say 9–10 regulars I see daily, then a few others passing through.
As I age, my interest, ego, awareness, and everything is changing. For the lack of a better word, my awareness is teaching me a lot. So I started talking to the homeless here, actually sitting with them.
I had a favorite, Richard the Prophet, at least that’s what he calls himself. He would pray for my family members and me when we’d talk about everyday life. Richard wasn’t an addict at all, but he is mentally ill, at least from what I can tell. He is one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. He loves the harmonica, his bongos, and Jesus. He’s been missing the last couple of months, and that has me worried. I’ve asked around, and no one seems to know where he went.
Then there’s Kaylee, she’s young, maybe 22 years old. I bought her a burrito and her dog a hot dog a month ago. I sat down with her as she ate, and I fed her dog! She told me she’s off the drugs but still on the streets. Her parents are both dead, but she does have a grandma. I didn’t want to push much into her personal life, so we talked about the weather and what it’s like living on the streets. She was pretty quiet; we said our goodbyes. She thanked me, and I haven’t seen her since.
Anyways, I wanted to set the tone for the moral of the story.
So there is this guy I see outside the grocery a few days a week. I’ve never got his name. He’s younger. I’d say 25, maybe younger. I’ve talked to him a few times, and he seems to have given up on life; I get it. I’ve been there.
I was at the gas station on Halloween night, and he was next to me, counting out change to buy his can of Bud Ice beer. I told the…