A Firefighter's Point of View
--by Moran, posted Apr 22, 2007
Back in the day when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, I was studying to become a firefighter. I was a volunteer fire aide with the city of Milpitas, and was studying at mission college. As a firefighter, you're constantly thinking of other people and trying to help children. That's the mindset, at least for someone trying to get into a fraternity of brothers that is the No. 1 most difficult job in the country to get!
One night after going to class I was heading home and decided to stop off at a burrito place. This was in a part of San Jose that wasn't very good. It was dark, and it was obvious that I wasn't in a place that I would normally go to. Well I got my burrito and started to head for my car when I was approached by a homeless man. He was very dirty and obviously very hungry. He asked me for some change to buy a little food.As I was pulling some change out, I had an idea.
I decided to see if he wanted to eat a real dinner, so I asked him to follow me back into the burrito joint to order. He was ashamed of the way he looked and said he did not want to go in there. But I insisted. When he finally followed me in, the people behind the counter refused to let him in, but I told them that I was buying him dinner and he had a right to be there. After some haggling, they finally let him in where he sat down. It seemed like he was relieved a bit to be sitting at a table. Well, I asked him to order whatever he wanted. He only ordered a burrito, so I had to encourage him to order whatever and however much he wanted.
For someone who has been on the fringes of society it seemed like he was very suprised at my generosity. But to me, it was what any "human being" should do or at least offer. I know we see these people everyday asking for money and I admit it gets a little tiring after awhile, especially knowing there's a bunch of fraudsters out there just hustling money for alcohol or drugs. You had to be there to see the look in his face. To me it reminded me when I was young and my mom brought out a big birthday cake for me on my birthday, with all the candy, chocolate and goodies that we were about to eat. He was like that kid again, getting to experience a feast. And I think he felt special, like he was getting attention. Again something that I could see he hadn't experienced in a long time.
Well he ended up ordering enough to fill his stomach at least 3 times over! I often think about this story, because to me it's not just about helping someone out by feeding them, but giving him the respect and dignity of being a human being and allowing him to feel good about himself was very rewarding.
God bless you.