Inspiring Inclusion and Common Humanity
Promoting Compassionate Action
Voices of Our Story
A Living Nightmare
Larry had it all, an expensive motorcycle, a beautiful house he was renting, and a dog who was his best friend. Larry did not have a family, he was not a fun person to be around and thought he was better than others, due to the way his now deceased father raised him. Larry lived next to a shell station and every morning he passed a man, Charles, who kindly asked for spare change.
"Get a job you lazy ass bum!" Larry said very aggressively .
To Charles that felt like a hot knife stabbed into his heart. He was trying to get a job, but many people would not hire him because he did not have nice clothes. Larry did not understand the position Charles was in, he just saw that they did not live the same life. The store owner took notice of Charles sitting outside the store.
"Good morning sir, please come in and grab a cup of coffee on me.”
Charles popped up with excitement and gave the man a huge hug.
“ Thank you sir, it means so much when someone goes out of their way to help, so many people act like it was my choice to be homeless, it is just so hard to get a job with these worn out clothes.”
He just needed a job to get his life rolling again, Charles wished one day it would be clothes, not coffee he was gifted. Charles was excited to get a job and wanted to see the look on Larry’s face when he saw Charles working.
Larry did not hear his alarm and slept in that morning, he had work in 10 minutes, but his job was 20 minutes away, so he hopped on his motorcycle and sped off, the speedometer was at 90 when he lost control, the crash seemed slow motion as all he could think was, “Why did I not get insurance?”
The crash interrupted the sounds of birds chirping as the bike smashed like a tin can, his bike was damaged so bad it could not be fixed. After a broken back and broken leg led to medical bills and losing ability to work, Larry lost his house. His family had disowned him and offering help was not an option. Without anywhere to go he ended up sitting in the same spot Charles would, begging for money.
One morning Charles noticed Larry.
“I heard what happened, how are you doing?”
“Not so good. I lost everything, I have no where to stay and about $4 to my name.”
Larry continued to say, “I am so sorry I treated you so poorly I never understood what your situation was.”
“No one even in their worst nightmares could possibly imagine the life people have to live due to homelessness.”
Nightmare? Suddenly Larry woke up and realized it was all a dream. As he turned over to look at his clock he noticed he slept through his alarm, he would be late for work if he did not get moving. He did not grab his keys to his bike, rather he grabbed his phone.
“ Hello, I am experiencing flu like symptoms and I cannot make it into work today.”
His boss insisted he get some rest but Larry had other plans. He surprised all his family with a phone calls that went along the lines of:
“ Hi, this is Larry, I know I have kind of pushed myself away from the family but I would like to invite you to lunch as sort of an apology for my character. I was also wondering if you can bring some clothes for a homeless man who is similar size as me, just come around 12:00.”
His family was confused, Larry never did anything for anyone but himself, not only is he making lunch for everyone, but he is also helping someone in need. Larry walked down to the gas station to see Charles there as usual.
“Good morning Charles!"
It was not common for Larry to greet Charles the way he did.
“Charles, I was wondering if you wanted to go to a few stores with me?”
Charles shyly replied with “Well, I don’t have any money.”
“Don’t worry Charles, any clothes, any food it’s on me! This is sort of a way to apologize for how I have always treated you.”
Tearing up, Charles gave Larry a huge hug. Larry took Charles to breakfast, JCPenney’s and then to buy food for lunch, when they got to Larry’s place everyone was already there. Larry’s aunt gave him a huge hug.
“It’s so good to see things have turned around for you.” Charles chuckled and nodded his head in agreement.
“Is this the man we brought the clothes for?” Larry’s aunt then pointed to a tall pile of men’s clothing. Charles broke down into tears.
“You don’t understand, I will finally be able to get a job!”
The night went on with laughter and joy, something Larry never shared with his family before. As the people left ,Charles also began to walk out the door.
“Where are you going” asked Larry.
“The dumpster behind the gas station” he answered.
Larry stopped him and invited him to stay in a spare room in his house. They became very close and eventually Charles did get a job at that very gas station where he used to camp out back. He continued to stay at Larry’s until he found a low income apartment a few blocks away. To this day, the two continue to be best friends.