What do you do when a homeless man or woman asks you for something? Do you help them out or do you just keep walking faster while looking the other way? Homeless and needy people are everywhere and most of us aren’t quite sure what to do about them. In the days of iPods, iPhones and Androids it’s never been easier to ignore these them although I’m not sure that’s the best thing to do.
About a month ago I was walking through the train station on my way back home from work. It was around 8pm and I was feeling tired from a long day of using my brain. Stephanie was doing something that night and I was starving so I started heading toward the Subway sandwich shop that’s in the station.
On my way over to grab my sandwich I get approached by an older looking black guy who was obviously homeless. He had a wide 6’2″ frame and was wearing old, worn out clothes that consisted of dirty jeans that were splitting up the sides from the bottom, a grungy black hooded sweatshirt and a light beige jacket that looked darker than it should have been. After giving him a look up and down I could tell that these just weren’t his clothes, they were also his blankets while he slept on the streets at night. Surprisingly as he got closer to me he didn’t smell at all, which from what I’ve experienced in San Francisco is pretty rare.
His beard was full, graying and had grown long enough at the bottom of his chin it could be braided if it wasn’t all clumped together. His hair was balding in the front and had longer dreads in the back. This wasn’t the first time that I had been asked questions by a random homeless guy and I actually like talking to them most of the time. For some reason this guy seemed different from from the beginning and as he started asking me questions he was actually pretty funny.
“Hey man, you have any cigarettes?” he asked me.
“Nope, I don’t smoke but I can grab you some food if you want. I’m about to hit up some Subway and I’m more than happy to grab you a sandwich if you want one.”
I’m always happy to offer someone food if they’re hungry, especially if I just met them. I feel like it’s a great way to get to know them and it gives you some time to talk with them while they order.
While we ordered our food I learned that his name is Mo, he’s on probation from selling some pills to someone on the street and that he likes to put all of the veggies on his Subway sandwiches (I call that “running it through the garden”). He also really likes the Subway cookies (oatmeal and chocolate chip) and sometimes the women who work there will give them to him for free if he asks nicely enough.
We talked for another few minutes or so and I ended up giving him some money to go get cleaned up at a cheap motel that’s nearby. I had no idea if I would ever see him again, but we’ve actually met up several times since then and I’m doing my best to be there for him when he needs something. This morning I ran into him on my way to the train station. He was sleeping under a couple of blankets on the sidewalk next to a trashcan that was right up against a fence. I woke him up, he gave me a hug and I bought him some coffee at the train station before I headed off to work.
I’m not sure what Mo has planned for the day, but I’m sure I’ll see him again tonight or tomorrow. I’m not sure what’s going to come of our relationship, but it’s grown to the point to where I feel like it’s good to share it with all of you so you can follow along our journey together. I really want to help him out and he’s got a good heart, but he’s got a hard life and there are a million reasons why he won’t make it another month on the streets. I’m hoping that I can eventually help Mo get back on his feet but for now I’m ok with just being his friend.
I feel blessed to have met him and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how he’s doing. If you feel like there’s a way that you could help him out, let me know and I’ll be sure to let him know. He’s an awesome guy, he just needs some help.
Leave a Reply