Monday, December 1, 2008

The Paper Man

There is a man who sells newspapers on the street corner that I pass everyday. He's probably in his 50's and you can tell that life has not been kind. He "lives" in a water passage tunnel under a bridge not far from where he sets up his newspaper stand every morning. For whatever reason I am drawn to him. Not in some weird, gross, twisted way. But drawn in the sense that I wonder what circumstances in his life have resulted in him not having a home or not having enough money for new clothes or food. I am also drawn to him because the guy busts his butt. He is out there as early as 7 am every single morning and out there as late as 8 or 9 pm....and he is always smiling and friendly. If that were how I had to spend my days I can assure you that I would not be so cheerful about it.

I buy a newspaper as frequently as I can for more than it costs and he is always so grateful and appreciative. Part of me wants to start taking him food everyday and I don't know why I haven't. It's weird. I just can't really explain why my heart breaks for him the way it does but maybe because I see him so frequently that he is not just some random guy on the street selling papers. As many know in our current economic climate, things can change and change quickly. One day you can be living high on the hog and the next you are looking at losing everything. Maybe that happened to him; maybe it was something for more sinister. Who knows? All I know is that I am sad for him.

It's times like these where I wish I'd win the lottery. I think of all I could do with the money. We'd certainly save the majority of it and put it in trusts for our children so they would be well taken care of. We'd also be generous with our family and friends. We'd pay off any debt and we'd certainly take a family vacation. But I never have envisioned us buying expensive cars or houses or blowing it on things we don't really need. I would like to think I'd donate a huge chunk of it to different charities and organizations (ones where the money actually went to them), but mostly I think I would just give it to those who needed it the most.

How would you spend lottery winnings and what are some things in our world that are weighing heavily on your heart these days?


Joanne said...

Much like you, I'd invest, pay off any debt, help out family. But I like your idea of rather than donating to huge charities, finding people or small local organizations to directly give to so that they have the benefits of the contribution. Giving more personally.

Nancy said...

the thought of that man living in a water passage tunnel just breaks my heart. I know if it was me, like you, I'd be buying a paper on a regular basis from him. I'd want to bring him food too to help him out.
If I won a lottery, I would do like you a Joanne, I'd pay off debt, set aside for our son, help out family members and donate to local charities so I would know the people in my town who need help are being helped. And then because I wouldn't have to work for money(!), I would donate my time where ever I could.

Robyn said...

If I won the lottery, I would definitely start working for free. I would find a non-profit and make THAT my job. (I couldn't NOT work).

I saw a severely handicapped boy getting lifted into a school bus this morning. When his father kissed his cheek goodbye, I started crying. I guess I'm feeling very blessed for my own healthy boy and empathetic for those raising special-needs children right now.