Clothing the Homeless

This past Thursday I received the greatest Christmas present I could have ever given myself. I was waiting at the Grey Hound Bus Terminal to pick up a box of Frozen mice shipped from Dallas, TX, that I feed my eagles, hawks and owls at Eagle Valley Raptor Center. I was early and they were not open yet. As I was sitting in my van, with one of my little owls I had taken along for the ride, I looked up and there in the alley behind the Bus Building, there was what was obviously a homeless man around 70 years old, standing in the sun like he was trying to keep warm. He had a old torn jacket on, a pair of dirty pants that had one leg torn from the knees down to his shoes. You could see he had no socks on, and his legs were red and bluish and looked swollen. He had on a pair of tennis shoes that he didn’t have tied up. He had all of his belongings in plastic bags between his legs on the ground. When ever another person would walk by him he would lower his head and squeeze his belongings as if to protect them from beinging taken. When the bus terminal opened up, I went inside to get my package. As I was waiting, the man I was watching came inside and put his belongings on one of the benches. He reached in his pocket and pulled out some money and started counting it. He then walked up to the ticket counter. I got my box of mice and took it outside to my van. I had this man on my mind and wanted to find out what his situation was. I went back inside and sat down next to him and introduced myself. I asked him where he was headed and he said Salina to see his sister. He said they had a special where it was only $10.00 to get there. He was seeing his sister. I asked him if he had another pair of pants to wear and he said he didn’t. I then I asked him if he would go over to Gander Mountain with me to get some new pants and socks. He said he had some money, but he needed it for food and medicine and he was on social security. I loaded him and his belongings in my van. On the way there we talked and found out he was 79 years old, a retired military vet and his name was Richard. When we went into the store the employees immediately looked at him as he was dirty and smelled. I told the store manager about him and that he was with me and I was paying for everything. We found some nice insulated Carhart Bibs for him and some wool socks. I had Richard wear the bibs to the check out stand. We paid for everything, and I wanted to throw away his old pants, but he wanted to keep them. So I asked the clerk for an extra bag. He hadn’t put on his socks yet, so I asked him to sit in a chair at the entrance of the store and put on a pair. He was having a hard time getting them on. His feet were swollen and in very bad condition. I think it hurt for him to try and put on socks. So I got on my knees and helped him. As people were coming in the store, some of them passed by without looking and some even made faces. I felt like I was meant to do this for him and I didn’t care who saw me. When I was lacing his shoes up, he said to me “You know they have very competitve prices here” I about busted out laughing! After we got his socks on and shoes laced up, we went back to my van and I took him back to the bus terminal. When we got there, he seemed to walk really tall and proud as he went back to the ticket counter. When he came back to the bench to sit down, I told him he owed me for what I did for him. He had already thanked me, and asked what he owed me. I told him that if he ever saw someone that he was able to help in some way, I wanted him to pay it forward. He said he would and smiled. We said our goodbyes and said Merry Christmas and I left. Why I did this I do not know. I have never done something like this before, but it is now going to be a new Christmas Tradition. This whole thing took maybe an hour, but it has given me a life time of memories. As I drove home I had a big lump of happiness in my throat!

By Ken Lockwood on December 19, 2010 1 comment

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ven October 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Good and heart warming.

We all have such times and the opportunity to serve. But very few people take the initiative to do so. You asked for a pay forward and I am sure by now, you must have got a payback in kindness too.

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