Stories Matching 'Homeless' Tag (168 matches)



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 >>

4614 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 >>

5504 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 >>

5382 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 >>

5029 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 >>

5767 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 >>

3416 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 >>

4456 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 >>

39.6K 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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A Valuable Lesson Served at a Soup Kitchen

Every year while I was in high school we organized a class retreat. It always involved some sort of service component – usually going to an elementary school or helping out at a nursing home. The class would vote on the type of project we wanted to do, and then our Campus Ministry Coordinator would organize the project, transportation, dates, and specific location. For our senior year, our class voted to volunteer at a soup kitchen so our CM Coordinator, Mrs. Krupitzer, set up a date for us to go to Gleaners Food Bank. We arrived on a Saturday morning, ready to prepare food and serve meals, wipe down tables, and clean dirty dishes. When we got off the bus, the food bank organizer took us on a tour of the facility. Then he turned around and said, “okay it’s time for lunch everybody!” Unbeknownst to us we would be eating ... Read Full Story >>

6621 Reads

An Opportunity Lost, In Just 5 Minutes

It’s been a number of years now, but I still remember it - I suppose I always shall.  I was driving around downtown one afternoon in the winter making a few deliveries.  I was listening to a band, rocking out, cruising around, and minding my own business… I came up to a red light and stopped… waited.  As I looked over to my left, I saw a young guy, about my age at the time, standing there.  He was a little scruffy, pale in the face, and holding a cardboard sign with some writing on it.  Generally, I had always just glanced over these signs as I passed them, flicked over anything written on them, and then moved on… As with most major cities, I’m sure when you’re in the heart of downtown, it’s pretty common to have homeless people on every other corner, holding a cardboard sign with something standard written on ... Read Full Story >>

8561 Reads
  • Posted by JPowers524
  • Sep 2, 2009
  • 28 Comments
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More Than Just a Favour

I had an errand to do in Saltcoats today.  I arrived early so I decided to go for a walk by the harbourside. It was pouring down with rain but I had my new waterproof jacket on so I didn't really mind.  As I was walking along, I met someone who wasn't so lucky. He had swept back salt 'n' pepper hair, a bushy gray beard, sky blue eyes - and he was soaked through and through. "Could you do me a favour?" He held his hand out. "Probably not," I replied. Things had been tight financially and for the past fortnight I'd been telling my kids we can't do this and we can't afford that. "I've been trying to chase up the price of a beer," he continued. Well, I admired his honesty. If I'd been living on the street like he obviously had, a beer might have been important to me too. I ... Read Full Story >>

4241 Reads

An Unexpected Blessing From Beautiful Blue Eyes

I saw him sitting on the grass at my local strip mall.  His hair was matted, his clothes were dirty, and he was talking but I don’t know who to because there was no one near him. People passed by but they didn't seem to see him and they didn't seem to care.  The day was sunny and warm, perhaps they were all busy taking in the beauty in that the day had to give. But I saw him.  His name was David.  As I watched him, he moved my heart a little. I felt a little of his loneliness and isolation. I wanted to reach out to him, to make it a little better. I went into the nearby grocery store and bought him a cold drink and a sandwich and got some extra cash from the ATM.  I then drove back to where this lonely soul was resting, on the grass, ... Read Full Story >>

4497 Reads

Leaving the Door of Compassion Open

Two days ago I was woken up at 1 AM. My roomie stood at the door (she was returning from a club) along with a huge middle aged man with long hair.  "Please let him in", she told me, "He has been locked out of his apartment". She had seen him , cold and shivering (it had snowed the previous night) and immediately asked him to sleep at our place. He was a law student in his fifties who had been doing his homework at the laundromat when he found he had left his keys in his house. I'll be honest, I'm pretty square. I have never had a strange man sleep in my house before. My roommate and I are both less than 5 ft 3 and we have been asked to 'not speak to strangers' since we were kids.Not to mention we're in a new city that we have lived in ... Read Full Story >>

4473 Reads

A Happy Memory to Lift You Up

I hear some actors keep a sad thought or memory tucked away to help them with scenes where they might need to cry. I think we should each try to find the opposite; a happy memory, something to lift us up on those inevitable down days.  I’m saying this because I think I just found mine! I had some work in Glasgow today. I was on a really tight schedule, which meant I would have no time for myself (or my own work) all day. I was having one of those days, the train was completely packed out and the conversation going on around me seemed to be particularly inane. On top of all that, I had a bit of a headache. Walking briskly across the concourse, I fished some change from my pocket. There was usually someone at the exit selling The Big Issue (a magazine that helps homeless folk earn ... Read Full Story >>

6516 Reads

What Happens When We Give What We Need?

One afternoon, I joined CharityFocus folks to distribute food to homeless people. We went around a few streets in Manhattan. I was at the office in the morning, a little overloaded with work, and had plans to travel back to India.  Still, I  wanted to take part in this activity in the afternoon.  We gathered at a coffee shop and othe members of the group came with lots of food packaged properly for distributing.  The first person we offered food to cried at the gesture of lovingly being offered food. This was an emotional moment for all of us and really touched me. After this, the rest of our food distribution happened at a particular place near Port Authority where many such needy people sit. Here the food was distributed quickly with a crowd surrounding us and receiving our  packets. Our activity got over by 5:00 pm and we started back to our homes. However, I ... Read Full Story >>

4547 Reads

A Lesson in Sharing Kindness with Humility

I had made up my mind a long time ago that I would not give a homeless person money, because I could never be sure what that money would be used for.  I did not want it to support any unhealthy habits.  Instead, I decided, I would buy them a sandwich, a cold drink on a hot day, a cup of coffee, whatever I could manage. I was out and about running errands recently and saw a homeless man, with his shopping cart full of his only possessions, asleep outside of a Starbucks.  My parking meter was about to expire, so I dropped another few coins in and went into the Starbucks.  I decided I would buy this man lunch.  I purchased a sandwich and soda. Just as I was leaving the store two policemen were approaching the man.  Apparently the shop owners had complained of his vagrancy and the police were ... Read Full Story >>

9783 Reads
  • Posted by elk312
  • Nov 29, 2009
  • 20 Comments
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A Gift From An Old Man With No Legs, To A Young Man Without Shoes

It had been a long time since I had been to Jacksonville, Florida. I had driven to town hoping to see the old barber shop where my hair had been cut as a child.  The orphanage would bring us kids downtown for a free haircut by the new barbers being trained. As I wondered around, I was a little disappointed when I saw the old buildings that I had known as a young boy were now gone.  Every one of them had been replaced with new high-rise buildings.   As it was very early and hardly anyone was on the street, I parked my truck and decided to try and locate a telephone to see if the Florida Barber College had moved to a new location.  Hopefully it was sill in business.  As it was rather cold, I put on my coat and began searching for a telephone.  After walking about a ... Read Full Story >>

9856 Reads

Walking a Mile in a Homeless Man's Shoes

This was a wonderful experience. It happened about three years ago and it has had a strong impact on me. I would like to pay tribute here to two men I do not know personally but whose actions gave a new meaning to the words kindness and generosity. I was walking down a busy street in the financial district on a cold, windy day in early winter. A barefoot homeless man, probably about 60, was begging for change on a street corner. A BMW pulled up on the other side of the street and stopped and an immaculately dressed executive stepped out of the car.  He was a tall, slim and imposing gentleman with silver harid, he was probably about 60 yrs old.  He was wearing a blue pinstriped business suit, deep red silk tie, white shirt, mirror-shined black shoes,  silver wristwatch, black overcoat, leather gloves, the works. Dapper, dignified, distinguished. He walked briskly and puposefully across the street ... Read Full Story >>

38.1K Reads

The Bus Ride That Changed My Life

A few years ago I was an employee of an international company that sold computer devices. I had to travel a lot as part of my work. I remember that I was at a stage of my life where I only cared about how to make more money and how to solve technical problems.  I was locked in my own world living as a robot that only worked in a mechanical way. On one of my work trips, I came to the airport to take a bus to downtown, as usual.  It was the same routine:  get into the city, take the bus to the hotel, check in, visit the client, work late, take the bus back to the airport and fly back out... That day, for some reason, something was different.   I decided not to take the same exit in the airport and took the stairs down to a different exit and ... Read Full Story >>

17.2K Reads

A Night With The Homeless

A Night With The Homeless by: Ellis Moore (Age 10)   Every Saturday or Sunday night my family and I go out and feed the homeless people in the city of Orlando. There are thousands of people across The United States without any food or shelter. My family and I have been doing this for several months.   We wanted to see what it was like in the life of a homeless person.  One special thing I like to mention is, my family and I do not eat before we begin our journey so we know how it feels to be hungry. All of the areas we go to are very dangerous. We go on streets such as, Orange blossom trail, Parramore, Gore street, Colonial Dr, and down town Orlando.   We all get together in the kitchen and prepare the food. Some of the meals are sandwiches and cookies and a bottle of water. ... Read Full Story >>

5383 Reads

Offering More Love, Less Fear

I'm sort of new to this small acts of kindness game, so I'm not sure how people feel about picking up hitchhikers. I've always felt that as long as you don't put your self in a completely unsafe position, it is an OK thing to do. But I'd never done it before until this week. It was about 9pm and I was walking in my school's campus from my office to my car. On the way, I ran into an fellow who was obviously lost. He asked me for directions, saying he needed to get to East Palo Alto. But the problem was he was walking in the complete opposite direction! I pointed him in the correct direction, but warned him it was a long ways off. He didn't speak English very well, and generally seemed disoriented. I quickly felt like helping him. Though he was a big guy, the vibe I ... Read Full Story >>

4170 Reads

Moving Creates An Opportunity To Start Giving

Moving away gave me a chance to reflect on my good fortune and it was a wonderful opportunity to give away some of my things.   I’m not rich, but I decided to make sure that what I have an excess off (thanks to the kindness of wonderful friends and family) is passed on to those who really need it.   Once you start, its amazing how much you can do...   1.     I donated some clothes which were still in pretty good condition, which used to belong to my roomate or me (partly inspired by the story of Goonj posted by 'Anju73').  I spent a good deal of time laundering and ironing them I also added some lavender scents :).   I searched for the right place to give them to.  I could have given it to Habitat which is round the corner, but I checked out a great homeless shelter that I had heard about and gave it to them instead.   I popped ... Read Full Story >>

3939 Reads

A Simple Yet Unforgettable Lesson In Helping Others

It's the middle of the night and I find writing this blog nothing short of imperative. As I've been sitting on the floor in my disheveled room, I began to recall such an important moment in my life. Some might pass it off as "dumb" or "unimportant", but for me, it has held a great magnitude of power over my mind and how I live my life. Something so simple, yet so precious has lingered inside my mind for years now.  It was a very cold winter evening when a friend of mine had attempted suicide and was rushed to Westchester Medical Center where she stayed, unconscious for quite a while. FINALLY she awoke. A friend of mine and I decided to visit her, so we picked up some picturesque flowers and were on our way. We reached the hospital and dashed madly across the freezing parking lot through the hospitals automatic doors. After signing in, up ... Read Full Story >>

7846 Reads
  • Posted by nirvjennymj
  • Mar 24, 2010
  • 19 Comments
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Sharing a Birthday with a Homeless Friend

I live in a big Scandinavian city that unfortunately has a lot of homeless people. Luckily there are small ways of helping them even though you may not have a lot of money.  One way to help is to buy their monthly magazine. By doing this one day,  I got to know a young homeless man who was often standing at the train station, selling the magazine. He was a refugee from another country and I can only imagine what kind of psychological scars he must have had from living in a war-torn country, escaping it and then ending up being homeless.  After a while, I discovered that his birthday was close to mine which meant that we were born under the same sign of the Zodiac, something we talked about once in a while. I met him last year shortly after his birthday, and without thinking, after congratulating him, I asked if he had had ... Read Full Story >>

10.9K Reads

A Compassion Connection at the Checkout

I was in the check-out line at a store with two cases of Ramen noodles, one case of Cup of Noodles, one case of bottled water, one pack of plastic spoons, and one box of large zip bags. 

While waiting to put them on the conveyor belt, the man in front of me put his two packs of beer on the counter and looked at the food I had placed on the belt. He asked me if that was all I had to eat and I smiled and shared that it was all for the folks that live in the camp under the freeway and behind the car wash.  He nodded, turned away and didn't look back. 

However, when the food came up to the register, he said, "I want to pay for this food also."  I stretched out my hand to shake his, but he hugged me instead.  I wanted to thank him but he hurried off and when he looked back I could see tears in his eyes. I knew that God had done something special in this man's life.

 

3734 Reads
  • Posted by niloonie1
  • Apr 24, 2010
  • 18 Comments
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A Lunchtime Opportunity To Feed Me Plus Two

It has struck me, lately, how heightened awareness of the things going on around us can present many new helping opportunities!  Last week, I was driving through a local sandwich chain at lunchtime, when I saw two men sitting on the grass a few yards away conversing with each another. They very thin and seemed a little dirty and unkempt, and very thin. It seemed to me that they were homeless... but they were not standing around, with signs or asking for anything.    I immediately felt like I could not just buy myself a sandwich without helping them eat, too. I asked the person at the window if I could purchase two $5 gift cards. I then drove up to the two men and presented the gift cards to them. They were totally shocked! One man said "is this for FOOD?!" He immediately began thanking me, over and over again.    Both these men were tremendously grateful and verbalized ... Read Full Story >>

3932 Reads
  • Posted by LittleOwl
  • May 8, 2010
  • 6 Comments
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A 15 Year Blessing From A Homeless Person

This is a story that happened 15 years ago but it has always stayed with me since then.   On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway.  He looked to be in his late 40's but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature.   His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes.  His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case.  He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing.     Every day after work I would remember ... Read Full Story >>

91.4K Reads

Pay-it-Forward Coffee Karma

Every day I go into the same coffee shop on the way to work. It's part of a large chain here in the UK. I am new to the anonymous act of kindness concept.  I came across it recently, and a few weeks ago I worked up the courage to ask the Barista if I could pay for a coffee for someone later that day. He looked at me kind of strangely and said "okay" and then put the  money in the till. I walked out feeling doubtful that this would ever happen (and privately thinking he might just add the money to his tips).  This chain stamps a card every time you buy a coffee and when you get 9 stamps, the 10th coffee is free.  I had just completed my card today and was due a free coffee next time, so I cheered up as I headed out of the ... Read Full Story >>

7280 Reads