We were all happy to see N again today. He looked good – new clothes, haircut, smile on his face. He shared the story behind the new clothes and haircut – he was panhandling on the corner the other day and heard someone call his name. He looked over at the car and saw a kid he went to high school with. The kid and his mom were surprised to see him there, and took him out to eat (N chose McDonald’s), took him shopping to get some new clothing and a new coat, and a haircut. (Thank you to that friend for making N feel good for a couple of days.) Before N left us today, he made sure to come to each one of us, say thank you and give us a hug or a handshake.
A little while later at a different corner, we met B for the first time. He stopped and talked to us for a while, telling us he was so sick and tired of this life. His whole demeanor was just so sad. He wished for a “normal” life, and said he was feeling so hopeless. He is tired of being a “loser” (his words). We encouraged him and gave him resources – told him how to get his ID so he can get treatment, who to call when he is ready for help, that he isn’t a loser. At one point he started to cry. It’s hard to know what to do or say when someone is feeling so hopeless. We did our best to encourage him, tell him that there is hope, that he can do small things to get himself off the streets and on to recovery. It’s such a helpless feeling to stand and watch someone cry and not be able to fix it. Sometimes a hug and some encouraging words are all you can do. I hope he remembers us when he’s feeling down on himself – a small group of strangers who are rooting for him and hoping one day he will know he matters.