Monday, October 11, 2010

One night. Two homeless men.

Saturday night while I was on Beach Street two of my homeless friends crossed my path. One was Jake. The other Kevin.

Kevin was walking with his bike. He saw me and said, "Mike, I sure miss you. It's been awhile. I just need four dollars and I'll be able to spend the night at the Sally (on the streets "Sally" means Salvation Army). Can you help me with a couple of bucks?" I learned from my friend Ray Kelley to never give the homeless money. I made another offer. "Kevin, how about if you put your bike in my truck, I'll drive you to the Sally and pay for your room?" Kevin seemed unhappy with me and stormed away.

After a few minutes I jumped in my truck and spotted Jake. Jake was sitting on a bench reading a book. I pulled over, parked the truck and walked towards Jake. I knew it was Jake by the gleam in his eye. But I didn't recognize the rest of his body. Cancer had ravaged his body. He was very skinny. I walked towards Jake and we hugged. I spent a few moments with Jake and listened to what he had to say. Before I left I asked Jake a question, "Do you need anything to eat?" Jake said, "I'd sure like a sandwich. I love those Burger King double stacks." I gave Jake another hug and drove off to get him a hamburger.

I came back to Beach street with two hamburgers. Jake was still sitting on the bench. He smiled when he saw the bag of burgers. He gladly took them out of my hand. "Jake, where will you be sleeping tonight?" I said. Jake said, "Somewhere, I'm not sure yet. Thanks for the burgers." I hugged Jake and told him I loved him. He hugged me real hard. I love hugging my homeless friends.

I found out where I can find Jake so I can check in on him. He needs a winter coat and a new tire for his bike.

What should you do if a homeless person crosses your path? The brief video below will help you.

5 Ways To Help from Los Angeles Mission on Vimeo.