Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Melvin's Legacy

--by twocents, posted Jan 5, 2018
Its been quite a while since I've seen Melvin, but his story didn't end after my last post on him. In the months after I wrote, he lost his gig at the church due to some incident that lead to a falling out; he got into a housing program; subsequently, he was removed from that housing program; he was then arrested for disorderly conduct; ended up in the hospital for 4-days; discharged from the hospital and sent back to the streets, where was living, still with the hospital band on his wrist and with two bottles of pills that he had already confused. In all of that time, I continued to do food dropoffs with my daughter, my son, my wife, and even once all of us. My daughter in particular was curious about Melvin and she loved meeting him. For many months, whenever I would disappear after dinner, she knew it was "to feed Melvin" which had lead to quite a bit of mystery and inquiry in her young mind. In one of those encounters between my daughter and Melvin, she said, "Melvin, we have some warm food for you because we want you to be strong and happy."  With his effusive manner he said, "Do you know what? I LOVE you! I really do."

It was quite challenging to know where he was on any given night over the many months, but I probably saw him about a dozen times over the 3 - 4 months following my last post. For a while, it seemed like all the ground we covered had begun unravelling. Yet, one time I bumped into him, he told me he finally called both his brother and another relative in Sacramento and reconciled with them. That was major progress! My limited experience with folks living on the street is that it's not due to a lack of a home that puts them there, but rather a total erosion of their social capital. To begin rebuilding that of his own volition was huge!

The second to last time I saw him I was actually in front of my house. In his wanderings, he managed to be walking by just as I was leaving. He seemed delighted to see me and to discover where I live. Reflecting honestly, I felt a pang of concern that in knowing where I live, he might be coming to my house or camping in front of it on a regular basis. So I told Melvin that though he and I were friends, he has to make sure he doesn't end up on my property or in front of my house or else my neighbors would have a really big problem with me. He said he understood, but I also noticed how his demeanor sank when I said that, which broke my heart, too.

Finally, the very last time I saw him, he said he had a bus ticket for Sacramento and was leaving in a couple of days. It was a short encounter, long enough for me to tell him how glad I was that he was moving in with his brother. He thanked me, in general, and for being his friend.

As I reflect back, it seems that the lasting impact Melvin has had is on my daughter. Her innate compassion which triggers whenever she sees homeless people has not been suppressed because she has not only witnessed me offering food and friendship but has done so herself with her very own tiny hands.  Every once in a while, she'll get into a fleeting conversation with me about some historic saint or spiritual figure. I typically try and weave in a little message about love, and sometimes say that those people loved everyone-- even her, even though they've never met. She'll sometimes say that saints *and Melvin* love her :-). It's now been nearly three years since I first met Melvin, which means my daughter was ~2.5 years old when she first heard his name. Every once in a while, she randomly asks if I have seen Melvin, lately. Though I haven't, I like to think that it's his warm thoughts for us, wherever he happens to be, that are what trigger my daughter to think of him in these quiet moments.
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Readers Comments

DotMatrix wrote: This is beautiful and such a great lesson for your little girl. It makes me think of one of my favorite verses, one of the things Jesus said to his disciples one day: "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters you do for me." Blessings to you and your daughter and to Melvin. ♥.
DotMatrix wrote: PS That phrase, "the least" in the original Aramaic I believe was "the poorest." ♥.
Mish wrote: Thank you for being a Helper, two cents. You helped Melvin navigate his Way. 🙏
leoladyc728 wrote: I hope Melvin is doing well and thanks for being his friend

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