Stories Matching 'Homeless' Tag (168 matches)



Generosity of a Homeless Man

I used to work at a warehouse that was down the street from a homeless shelter. It was right next door to a little gas station where they made breakfast sandwiches daily and I would walk over before my shift started and get a sandwich and a coke every morning. There was always someone or the other standing around outside asking for money to get something to eat. As a single mother I rarely had money to spare but sometimes I would give them my change until I noticed most of them would go inside and buy a beer with the money instead of food. I stopped giving out my change and just told them I didn't have any. One day as I was walking out of the store, I noticed an old black man who was obviously homeless.  However, interestingly, he was always wearing a nice suit and tie ... Read Full Story >>

3617 Reads

Yogi on the Go

I struggle with money in that I don't have a lot of it. I hate how we are so dependent on it and yet we need it in order to survive - we need to pay rent, buy food, etc. It's a daily struggle, but we all have to do it. Before I went back to school I was living in Toronto as a waitress and yoga teacher and was making some decent money. My partner and I decided to start taking 10 per cent of our tips from waiting tables and giving it to people in need. I have numerous stories of how I saw this process of giving away larger quantities of money every month make shifts in people's lives.  Although the money was a sort of "bonus" to people, it was also recognition of THEIR struggle and a reminder that someone cared - even if it was a ... Read Full Story >>

4694 Reads

I'll Give Him My Teddy Bear

Nearly thirty years ago I was a trainee engineer based in Liverpool. I was hundreds of miles from home, but I had a nice place to live, wasn't overworked, had a good bunch of friends and plenty of money in my pocket. One Saturday morning I decided to walk into Liverpool city centre and buy myself something. I didn't need anything, I was just going to spend some money!  The walk was about four miles and took me through Toxteth, an area which two years later would erupt into rioting, largely because of the poverty of the place. I stopped into a newsagents/general store to buy myself some sweets for the walk. While I was making up my mind the door opened and in walked this "ragamuffin". She looked like she might have been four years old (at the most), was wearing a summer dress and sandals even though it was a bitterly cold day, ... Read Full Story >>

4164 Reads

An Unforgettable Breakfast at McDonalds

This was a story I wanted to share with you, from a woman who helps the homeless. I am a mother of three and have recently completed my college degree.  The last class I had to take was Sociology.  The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.  Her last project of the term was called, 'Smile.'  The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.  I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake. Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning.  It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.  We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of ... Read Full Story >>

11.4K Reads

An Empty Wallet and a Full Heart

Today while driving to the grocery store we saw a woman standing with a sign "Family fallen on tough times" by the side of the road. Usually we give the person some food or fruit that we have with us or a bottle of water. Frantically rooting around for a snack, my son and I could not find anything in our bag and by that time the light had changed.  I said out loud, "I only have a $20 bill in my wallet. Too bad, because usually I would give away dollar bills if I had any."  I told my son that we would give something to her on the way back if she was still there. Well, she was still there and on the way back I gave her a smile card wrapped in my only cash-- the $20 bill.  There were cars behind me so I had to drive off quickly (to avoid ... Read Full Story >>

3936 Reads

Dad, Can I Do That Again?

Let me tell you another story. It’s not a mythic story; it refers to a real event, which I attach great importance to, which was told to me when I was teaching a class at a business school in Mexico.  I was teaching a class in business ethics, and we were dealing with the question, What is a good human being?   Can you be a successful businessman and also be a morally good man or woman at the same time, or do these two goals work against each other?  Or to what extent do they coincide and to what extent do they oppose each other?  It’s a very interesting question, and a very central question for our society now in all kinds of ways. At a certain point during the discussion, one of the students -- a young man of about thirty -- described an event that took place at Christmas.  ... Read Full Story >>

6844 Reads

Paid in Full with One Glass Of Milk

One day, a poor boy  who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.  He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However,he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for kindness."  He said, "Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in humanity grew stronger as well.  He had been ready to give up ... Read Full Story >>

5684 Reads
  • Posted by sabrina
  • Jul 19, 2008
  • 16 Comments
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The Battle For Change

I am a New Yorker, born, raised and residing.  We know how much money beggers make a day.  One begger can get about a dollar per 20 people who pass, either in the form of a dollar or in change from several people.  In New York, you can easily get a minimum of 500 people within a 2 hour period passing you.  That is basically 40 dollars every 2 hours.  The number rises if you're in front of a restaurant , a really busy street, or in the subway. Do the math and you can see beggers make more money begging in a day than some people with jobs. I never give money to people -- never.  But last night around 3 am,  I stopped at a Mc Donalds in Harlem to use the bathroom.  I saw him in the door waiting for me to head over to him so he could open the door ... Read Full Story >>

3816 Reads

A Gas Station Gift I Couldn't Afford

Just recently, there was a man standing near the islands in the gas station when I pulled in. I had recognized him from before, when I saw him trying to cross 4 lanes of traffic with crutches. He still had his crutches with him. When I got out of the car he politely asked me if he could pump my gas. I said, no thank you and continued on. I started to notice he asked other people the same question, and I realized he was doing it for money, but he wasn't getting any. As I looked at him, he seemed genuinely worn out and running low on energy. As I passed by him to go inside, he smiled and commented on how hot it was. I agreed, and asked him if he had walked here. He said yes, he is trying to get donations to be able to keep ... Read Full Story >>

7415 Reads

A Smile Knows No Language Barriers

I was visiting my sister a couple of weeks ago and it was snowing hard, in between bursts of icy raindrops. My husband and I dived into a coffee shop for a quick burst of heat. Sitting there watching the rain run down the window and people battle with their umbrellas all I could focus on was the one girl standing outside of the shopping centre selling a homeless magazine. Her approach wasn't pushy, just to ask if anyone wanted to buy it and then avert her gaze to the puddles on the ground. So many people walked past weighed down by bags of goodies from the sales that I began to feel quite sad. I sent my husband back to the counter to buy her what I had just enjoyed -- a big hot chocolate with cream. Her smile melted my heart when I handed it over to her. She was foreign so ... Read Full Story >>

6033 Reads

Losing My Fear of Having Enough

I was moved after reading a story on this site about Adam's day in New York. I commented how it's so easy for me to spend $1.50 on soda every day (or more!), but when I walk by homeless people, somehow I fear that if I start to give them money, I won't have enough. Well today, somehow that fear was lifted. This was not planned, but I had put $3 in my pocket this morning for sodas (it's Friday after all :-) and never got to the place where I buy them. Then, as I was walking to the train, I saw a homeless man ahead and remembered that I had money I could give. So, I took out one of the dollar bills and gave it to him. I continued walking and came across another one of the regulars who hangs around at the same time and gave him ... Read Full Story >>

8914 Reads

All I Did Was Smile

One day I was going home and jumped on the LRT (train). There was one seat compartment that was empty except for a 'dirty' run down looking man obviously coming down off of something. Although there were two empty seats across from him, and one beside him, and the train was jam packed, no one would sit there. Me, being me, waltzed into the train car, sat directly across from him, looked him in the eye and smiled. The look of shock, shame and amazment on his face is a look I will never forget. He was obviously shocked that someone would sit across from him when a train full of people had done their best to avoid him so far. After he got over the shock, you could see the shame on his face, and you knew it was because of his appearance and how his problems, addictions, whatever they ... Read Full Story >>

5392 Reads

A Pocketful of Hope

Here's a quick reminder to all of you when you get stuck in a moment --- that, somewhere out there, someone always comes along with a pocket full of hope. Today I spent all my coins and dollar bills on little deeds. I had skipped breakfast because the clock was ticking away too quickly.  On top of the mad rush, I forgot my lunch. I was going to buy my lunch along the way, but a person in need asked me if I could spare them some cash, so I decided that moment, to put them first. So, then later, that evening, I was heading home anxiously awaiting dinner, when I got a call from my Mom saying that she was stuck working the late night shift and wouldn't be able to make it to the market to pick up groceries. Even though there was no food in the house, I took a step back for a second, and I told my Mom not to worry as I would surely find myself something on which to munch. :)  While I was ... Read Full Story >>

7480 Reads
  • Posted by cassiemeadows
  • Sep 29, 2008
  • 22 Comments
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The Old Man on the Highway

As I turned off the highway onto the ramp to go home, I encountered a little old man on the side of the road.  His sign read, "Stranded, need ride to get to friend."  He had a bag, a cane and the clothes on his back. I turned my car to the right, the traffic horrific, no one letting me turn around.  So I went around the block and pulled a u-turn so that I could drive by this little man to offer him help.  A s I got turned, he had already begun walking up the road towards me.  It was like he knew what I was doing.  I stopped beside him and asked him what he was doing. He responded, "Well pretty lady, I am trying to get to my friend who is dying.  We have been friends for almost 50 years and now he lay dying -- I want to be with ... Read Full Story >>

6436 Reads

A Timeless Gift

Every day I pass by a homeless man on the street near where I attend college.  He tells me 'hello'  in a cheerful manner, and I always say it back.  I give him any extra change I have.  He always wears a watch.  Not an expensive watch by any means, but it serves its purpose.  One day I noticed he wasn't wearing it anymore.  I asked him why and he looked down and told me that the battery had died so he threw it away.  I knew he couldn't afford a new battery and he certainly couldn't afford a new watch.  He stayed on my mind all day, and I knew what I had to do.  I went out and bought him a watch.  Not an expensive one, but one that was very similar to the one he had.     When I saw him the next day, he was smiling and cheerful ... Read Full Story >>

5779 Reads
  • Posted by ClarityTru
  • Nov 11, 2008
  • 23 Comments
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A Man Named Lawrence

This is a random act of kindness that happened to me on Sunday morning, as five of us got off of the 19 MUNI at Hyde and Fulton Street in San Francisco. It was at two in the morning, and we had just finished clubbing it up at a Persian Club and were trying to find our way back to Berkeley. There must have been this look of fear on our faces and in our voices as we were trying to figure out where the AC Transit stop was.   As we nervously chattered amongst ourselves, a homeless man a little ways away yelled at us, “What you lookin’ for?”   Ignoring him, our voices trying to figure out what to do got a little more frantic. “Excuse me!, what are you looking for? Powell is up one street.” I finally said, after much internal debating, “No, we’re looking for the AC ... Read Full Story >>

9105 Reads

A Lesson in Dignity

Everyday as I drove through town, I saw a one-legged man going through ash cans for cigerette butts and trash cans outside of fast food restaurants looking for food.  It was only a month before Christmas, starting to get cold (I lived in a town that was over 6,000 ft. altitude) and I could not quit thinking about him.  It was a year where we didn't have enough money to really have much in the way of presents but I figured what was too little for us would be a lot for someone who had nothing. So I bought a brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, pack of cigerettes, cans of tuna, just little things that didn't cost much and then I added a blanket and sweatshirts.  I made a box up like a present and went in search of this man.  I saw him hobble away from the dumpster next to McDonalds.  I ... Read Full Story >>

5811 Reads

Three Words of Wisdom: "Don't We All?"

One evening I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was, what society would consider, a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of the "don't want to be bothered" times. "I hope he doesn't ask me for money," I thought.  He didn't.  He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop and he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.  After a few minutes he spoke.  "That's a very nice car," he said.  He was ... Read Full Story >>

31.9K Reads

Walking Away with an Open Heart

I was on my lunch break in the city, enjoying a salad at an outdoor cafe, when a disheveled homeless lady came walking towards me.  She was yelling and begging everyone who walked past her for spare change and she looked like a mess.  My instant reaction was fear... to close off and hope she didn't come near me, but she did.  I was on the phone and when she came over yelling, I said, "I'm on the phone," in the nicest way I could, assuring myself what she needed was a lesson in manners.  After all, that is rude to interrupt someone and I have very little money as it is, if she only knew and on and on...  She walked away, mumbling, "I'm annoying you. I'm sorry, I'm sorry.  I'll leave."  And she turned the corner. Normally, I would feel relieved or satisfied, but something in me couldn't rest.  ... Read Full Story >>

31.6K Reads

The Wisdom of Old Ted

I placed Ted's ashes in the ocean and watched as they made a rainbow before dissolving into the sea. In my hand was an envelope with my name on it. I reflected on my friendship with Old Ted, over the past two years prior to his death. It was a sunny mid-day in Tucson. I had been attending a teaching and we were on lunch break. I was the first to arrive at the Furrs restaurant. I was getting out of my car when I saw him. An elderly man in his eighties, thin, tall, and walked with the gait of someone who knew how to put many miles behind them in a day. He came up to me and said, "I'm hungry can you feed me?" "Of course." I said. He looked me over, I was dressed in my red and yellow monks robes. "What are you?" he asked quite matter ... Read Full Story >>

10.3K Reads

Two Sides of Wisdom

I was 16 years old, getting out of the train station with my father, and a woman came to him and said that her money had been stolen.  She asked if he could  lend her some money to go back home. My father gave her what she asked and told her not to worry about sending it back. I was shocked. How could my own father be so gullible? It was obvious to me that she was lying, staying in the station all day long to get the next patsy.  "She was lying!" I exclaimed. "Why did you give her anything at all?" My father looked at me and I could see he was a bit angry. "And what would you like me to do," he said, "Should I tell her that I am a college professor and I can see through her scam?" I did not understand him at all, so he told ... Read Full Story >>

4597 Reads
  • Posted by misscloud
  • Mar 6, 2009
  • 12 Comments
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The Importance of Getting It Right

The old woman walked with a ramble as she pushed her shopping cart full of worldly possessions. She was dirty, her hair unkempt, her clothes torn, she reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. Most of her teeth missing, the image of a miserable wretch manifested before me. She stopped and asked me for change. I invited her to lunch and she agreed.  So, we went across the street to an outdoor cafe so she could watch over her shopping cart, while we dined. The waitress was taken back by the presence of this woman and did not want to serve us, but forced herself. We ate our lunches - she was ravenous and the food disappeared almost as soon as it arrived. When we were ready to leave, I was feeling pretty good about myself and then she asked for a hug.  It was then that I had to face myself and all the hidden repulsion and ... Read Full Story >>

5497 Reads

A Family Tradition Lives On

Every morning my friend would stop on the way to work to grab a quick breakfast for herself and her son, before dropping him off at school. They tended to frequent the same eatery every morning grabbing an egg sandwich, juice, coffee for her, milk for him.   One day she ordered an additional breakfast. Once they had eaten and were headed out the door, she stopped, said good morning to a homeless man sitting outside of the restaurant and handed him the additional breakfast she had ordered. He thanked her profusely, grinning, telling her it was the first meal he had in a great many days. She couldn't help but feel good and was glad she finally took action. She told her son that she had seen him every day that week outside the restaurant and that no one, herself included, had stopped to offer him support, food, drink, comfort, etc. She further explained that homelessness ... Read Full Story >>

5361 Reads

Learning From A Cabbie

A couple weeks ago I was standing out on a cold evening in New York City waiting for a cab to come take me to a nightclub.  After about 5 minutes of waiting, I was picked up by a middle-eastern gentleman in his 30's, and he was clearly angry.  Swear words left and right about how horrible New Yorkers were.  I knew my cab ride would only be about 10 minutes and there was a part of me that wanted to be silent and just move on with my life, but I also wanted to try and connect. I asked the man what the issue was, and after some beating around the bush, he told me that he had just come from JFK airport without a customer.  For those that don't know, this is basically $70 in lost fare, which is a fairly big deal.  I tried my best to commisserate ... Read Full Story >>

48.5K Reads
  • Posted by beastly
  • May 13, 2009
  • 34 Comments
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A Lesson In Receiving Graciously

I often walk from work (near Pier 39 in San Francisco) to the Embarcadero BART station, where I catch a train back to the East Bay. Several times, I passed a gentleman who I presumed was homeless.  He had a lot of his possessions tied down to his bike and held a cardboard sign that said he was a vet who doesn't drink or do drugs, but would appreciate anything that could be given.  He usually has headphones on and is listening to the radio. He is always minding his own business, often reading as well.  I've never seen him actively "panhandling." Several times, while I was passing him, I realized I had some food with me, so I turned around and offered him that food (most recently, a blueberry muffin).  He took off his headphones, and said "Umm, blueberry muffins are my favorite!" with a big smile and a gleam in his eye.  ... Read Full Story >>

5010 Reads

A Drop-In-The-Bucket Act

I was entitled to a free burger because I had 10 stamps on my Smart Alec's card. Awesome, I was pumped!  I liked the burgers, was on a tight budget, and had enjoyed accumulating the stamps on my card (the cashiers had been very nice about it, providing extra stamps here and there : ). I was really going to saver this burger. It suddenly dawned on me: the thing to do with this card was give it to someone who needed it more than I did. I plotted to leave the free burger card along with a smile card under someone's sleeping body on the street or something...it sounded like a good plan. But, as time went on and I did not find what seemed like the right opportunity, I went through a period of cashlessness and I thought maybe I will get myself a burger with this card. ... Read Full Story >>

5747 Reads
  • Posted by johnnidi
  • Jun 29, 2009
  • 13 Comments
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Life Is An Untiring Teacher

Life seems to be an untiring teacher. At every turn, in every twist, it holds out a lesson. Is it because we are the typical, indifferent, happy-go-lucky students who forget the lesson the moment the class is over? I wonder. But, whether we like it or not, the teacher teaches us constantly. It is up to us whether we learn or not. The other day, after my morning walk, I stopped my car at a roadside teashop in Secunderabad in India. I like to patronize the small vendors, whether it is the local grocer or the vegetable hawker who sells vegetables from house to house carrying the basket on her head. Or the flower seller on his cycle. My conviction is that my business with them goes a long way for them. The personal relationship built up through daily interaction goes a long way for me. Therefore, the stop at the ... Read Full Story >>

3408 Reads

Teaching My Daughter Through A Real-Life Experience

One day I had my youngest daughter, Lauren, out shopping and running errands with me. We were rounding the corner of a fast-food place to pick up something quick to eat, a rare thing for us. There was what appeared to be a homeless man, maybe 65 or so, who had a couple of dogs on wire leashes. He wasn't begging, but he smiled and waved at us. Once we picked up our food, I drove back around and asked him how he was, and said his dogs looked as though they really loved him. He said indeed they all loved each other, then said something like, 'I lost about everything in a fire a few months ago (a building he was squatting in) except for these guys, and I have all I need. But I sure do miss my Bible.'  I smiled and waved, and told my daughter that we ... Read Full Story >>

4445 Reads

You Reap What You Sow

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. "Leave me alone," he growled... To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked. "No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president.. Now go away." The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone. Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.. "No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. ... Read Full Story >>

39.5K Reads

A Baby's Unconditional Trust and Love

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.  We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose ... Read Full Story >>

10.2K Reads
  • Posted by rettak
  • Aug 30, 2009
  • 33 Comments
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