Good morning readers!
Today is Friday, June 12th and another week in NYC is in the books! Although this week was a very busy week in the office, as my supervisor was present and had daily tasks for me to complete, (sorry I cannot go into deeper details) I’d like to focus on something else that really got to me, in a personal way.
Now living here in New York City, I am fortunate enough to commute to work everyday, with the use of reliable transportation, even though many people may have doubts about it. I will get where I need to be, on time, give or take a few minutes, am I right? Anyway, the other day I came across this video (not during work of course) and it really made me think different about homeless people. Living in an area such as West Bloomfield, Michigan all my life, I very rarely saw homeless people, or even people that seemed to be struggling. Besides the once in a while trips down to Detroit for a Tigers game, you do see more homeless people in the city. When I was younger it was like I was scared of them, or even thought they were not worth helping because it was their fault they were living on the streets. However, as I’m getting older I’m starting to realize a lot more, as everyone should, and after watching this video my perspective changed drastically.
So since my first day of work, as I get off my subway stop at the corner of Wall St. and Broadway, I see this young homeless man on the corner, every single day. My first week here I would just walk by, and not acknowledge him at all (as I have been doing all my life). Then day after day, I would look more, and see people talking to him, over-hearing a little of what he was saying to people. On Wednesday, as I walked by I read his sign and it said “Parents were killed by a drunk driver, homeless, anything helps, God Bless”. Reading that got to me, not only because of the on-going drunk driving epidemic, but also a young man, maybe 5 years apart from myself, sitting on the ground every single day, begging and begging people for anything that could possibly help him survive.
As I left work that day, he was still there with a couple more dollars in his cup than what he had in the morning. I was thinking all day that I wanted to help, but not give him money directly, because I guess there is a trust issue in the back of my mind thinking about what he would do with the money, which sounds bad but everyone thinks it, you just do. So that evening as I prepared lunch for myself for the next day, I see my loaf of bread is about done. Me, being the picky eater that I always have been, I never eat the ends of the loaf of bread. I took those end pieces and made another pb&j with the hopes of seeing this homeless man the next morning so I could give him something to eat. I know the ends of the loaf of bread isn’t the most appealing, but I sure wasn’t going to eat them, but this man is out there literally trying to survive.
The next morning as I got off my stop, I do see this man so I take a seat next to him. He had the same sign from yesterday so I asked him, “is this true?”. He replied without hesitation, “yes”. I asked him a few more questions about it, being respectful as possible, because it would really suck to find out that people are lying about this. After about 4-5 minutes of talking, I did feel a sense of truth in his words, and I felt bad. So I asked him if he’s hungry, and he said “of course, man”. I pulled out the sandwich I made and gave it to him. He seemed surprised that a man younger than him would do such a thing. As I’m about to stand up and walk away he stood up with me, but as I reached out to shake his hand, he gave me a hug and told me how thankful he was to have this meal. Now, normally I wouldn’t even think twice about a peanut butter & jelly sandwich as such a blessing. However, as his sign read, “anything helps” I realized the sandwich could be his only meal of the day. As I walked away, I started to tear up and could only think about how grateful I really am to be able to live the life that I do. Knowing that there are people like him everywhere I go in this city, I know I can’t help everyone but this man’s words really struck me. I can’t even begin to imagine growing up without parents, and the struggle of living on your own in this concrete jungle.
As everyday goes by, I think to myself how lucky I am to have this internship experience and the opportunities that I have been fortunate to come across growing up. I love listening to music every morning, and coincidentally today before I wrote this, I heard from Snoop Lion, “money makes a man, and that’s a crime”. I feel it’s very sad that people are looked down upon so much more because of their status but as the title of this blog is “I’m not a bum, I’m a human being” comes from the man in this video that I came across the other day, please watch it in your spare time.
I could rant some more about the things that most people take for granted, including myself, but I’ve got some work to get done and with that, I hope everyone has a great day and enjoy your weekend. As always, stay tuned for more posts and check out the “pictures” tab for more of a glimpse of my life in New York City!