Welcome back! I ended my last post with a quote, “A thousand mile journey begins with a single step.”
Back tracking a little bit… on Sunday night, June 11th, I took my first steps. I did that by taking 25$, that I had, to buy smoothie ingredients. Some of these ingredients included bananas, steel cut oats, spinach, strawberries, cranberry juice, and some orange juice. Side note… you now have one of my secret smoothie recipes. Are you still with me? Well, when I got back to my apartment I made some of the best smoothies in town with two of the best blenders in town. From there I packed my smoothies up in my bag, grabbed some plastic cups and straws, put on my bicycling gear, and hit the town.
Well… what was I going to do with these smoothie ingredients though? I set out on a mission to find the homeless people who were living in my city and offer them the ‘meal smoothies’ that I made for them.
Why did I do this? The day is Saturday, June 10th: I spent some time to talk with someone I met at my train station. He was friendly, soft spoken, and a little jumpy. His name is Mario. He’s been homeless since he was 18. Mario started off by asking me for some change so he could go and buy some food. Meanwhile, I was supposed to be taking pictures with a photographer I was working with. This though… was more important. I talked to him for probably 15 minutes. At the end of the conversation I gave him a quote that I wrote on a notecard that I had in my notebook. *I love quotes and whenever I read something I jot down some quotes that I liked.* After the conversation was over, my photographer and I gave him some money for some food and we started to leave. Before I left though, I explained what the quote meant and what it has meant to me. When we were almost out of the tunnel, he read the quote aloud and he then turned and gave me a brief smile. Which gave me a sign that maybe he got what it said, but maybe he thought my hand writing was funky looking, or maybe he just had no idea in, “Why the hell this guy just gave me a notecard with some words on it!” That was my token for him though, and I was hoping that those few words would infiltrate him. Knowing that, along with Mario, there were other homeless people in my city, I knew there was a possibility to do something good and give back. This interaction inspired me to take Action in my community.
Back to the ride! So, the night turned out to be a total ‘MISSION FAILURE’ I didn’t find one of the homeless guys I’ve seen around town. I looked everywhere too. I even drove to the other side of town through an old park that’s no longer used, scanned some of the woods around town, and I took the bike trail at the end of town calling out. I also asked some of the locals, “Where do the homeless people hang out at night?” Nothing… they had no idea.
I was hurt, and a little upset. Listen though, I wasn’t going to end the night like this! I held onto some faith that something good could happen out of all this. I set out on a mission to then go and meet some people. I found some people hanging out in all places. Some people were hanging out on the bench’s, the bars, the bus stops, just around town walking and the train station amongst some places.
One of the guys I met was Keith. He was waiting at his stop by himself. It was pretty late by this time, and he looked tired from the long day at work. I did offer him a smoothie but he declined. He told me he had been working with AT&T, traveling the world, for many years. Then the market crashed and he lost his job. He was past forty with no wife and no kids. The year is 2017: It’s been 8 years since “The Panic of 08.” I talked with him for awhile and just by talking to him I knew he still hadn’t recovered from the 08 crash. He was defeated. I prayed with him that night .
One of the other guys I met was Charles. Charles was getting off the train and I caught him on his was to Dunkin. Charles is an aspiring Entrepreneur. He has a dream of starting a business. He told me about his dreams. He was old. *I complimented him on his aggressive looking beard. I can’t grow a beard to save my life so when I see a solid beard, especially when it has the resemblance of an ‘old ancient wizard,’ it always gets me to compliment it.* I didn’t get into to many details with him, but he told me he was working a maintenance job 5 days a week and when he got off the train he usually went right to Dunkin to, in his words, and said with a big grin on his face, “Feed this brain.” I loved when he said that. I asked him why he didn’t start his business yet. He gave me a lot of “Buts” and I responded, “No ‘buts’ what are you going to do about it? Are you going to start this business or not?” Charles looked me in the eye and responded, “I’m going to start this business.” From there we parted ways with a firm handshake and some parting words.
I’m looking forward to seeing these two gentleman and following up with them.
The night wasn’t over though!
You know what… We’ll have to leave that for another post some other time. To be continued…
Oh! Before I go, I forgot to tell you the quote that I gave Mario… the notecard that I gave him said this…
“Faith is the beginning to all riches.”
(why smoothies? I’ll talk about that in another blog)