Around this time 19 got in the jeep but I didn’t stop listening and she didn’t either. We talked about the streets more and how the system is just fucked (my words not his..come to think of it I have never heard a homeless man swear in front of me) He told about the prison system and how they will help you on the outside if you meet certain criteria but if you mess up or max out (something I didn’t totally understand but didn’t want to interrupt him) then you are on your own and many of these guys were. While were listening to him I heard Bryan yell at us and he was flagging us down I asked 19 to go check on him, she did. She came back and told us he had offered her a dollar to go get him a drink, he refused his money but got directions to the gas station.
We went and she got him his vanilla coffee and Conan an orange juice. After dropping off the coffee we followed Conans direction to where he sleeps. On the way there I see another man in a wheel chair and like a tart pull up on the corner of the street like..ON the corner of the street..so like other cars could pass me so I am on an angle if you can imagine that. I hop, flag the cars behind me around and yell hello to the gentleman and ask him how is. He says he remembers me and I do him too…and how could I not he had a smoke hanging his mouth with an inch long ash. On Christmas Eve it was even longer and I totally ashed it for him cuz I was scared he would catch on fire. (his ash reminded me of my grandmother and her never dropping ash, I swear she slipped wire in them trick us all as I would follow her ash waiting for it to drop as she aged but it never did..miracle I swear) I did have to ask him his name though, he reminded me it was Keith and I reminded him of mine. He said to me “you were supposed to be on Friday” doh!! I told him I was but that no one was around and I was like 20 minutes later and I had wanted to be. I was happy though in a way that he held me accountable and I had wondered if anyone remembered I told them I would be there…uh yup!
I happened to look up at this time and see two older women dressed in full-length minks coats and they looked right at me and I smiled and nodded but quickly went back to asking Keith what he needed. 19 started to talk to him as I went to get him clothes and a copper pulled up with his lights. I jumped in and pulled over, as that is what he told me to do with his bullhorn. I stayed in the car and waited for him and Conan told me he was not an nice guy. I told him we were all good and that no cop would really give someone a ticket for clothing homeless would they….and then I wondered if it was illegal.
The cop pulled in front of me and I told 19 to get in the jeep and she did and the cop got out and didn’t even acknowledge us but went right over Keith and was telling him to move along. And I just stayed there in case he was coming over to me and he got back in the car and drove away. Uh…well all right!!
19 asks us if we saw that the ladies in the fur had come back and gave him money, like a few bills with a $5 on the outside! And she said that while we were talking to Bryan another woman who had stopped at the sign gave him money to which he told 19 he suspected the only reason she did it was cuz she saw us helping. Part of me was bummed by the idea that it was a guilt push but then again it encourages me to keep doing this during daylight hours where people can see the presence of other people helping.
We continue on our way following Conans’ direction. And I am so surprised but really happy too. I wont tell where they are staying cuz I do not wish to draw attention to the area but it is warm and safe!
We pull up and I can see someone sleeping I stop he tells me to go farther but I don’t to disturb anyone he tells me I am not. I do not pull all the way in but partial. We all get out and he is yelling at the person sleeping. Well it is actually two men you could not tell.
He tells them they have company! We go over and I introduce myself to them, they are Alex and Victor. I had one backpack left and gave it Alex and he was not able to find his can opener but Conan lent him his charging by the minute!!
I gave them each a sweater and found three round up blankets with velcro closures! I asked Victor what sized pants he wore he told me size 38, score! As I have like 3 or 4 pairs size 40! I gave him two and he figured he would wear them over his other pants!
Alex helped Victor put his cans away as he was not able to eat and I asked him if he was ok.
He told me he had had two strokes and we talked about it. He admitted he had been a drinker and that contributed to the strokes and was told that last time in the hospital that another one might either paralyze him or kill him. He hopes it won’t kill him. I asked him if he was partially paralyzed now and he showed me his left hand which has the characteristic results of stroke. He said that he was having a hard time eating right now as any food was causing him to have the runs. I cannot imagine being homeless, much less having bowel issues. I asked him if there was anything he needs to make ease his discomfort. He told me aspirins would be helpful as he was told he needs them daily. I asked what milligram and totally guessed 325mg and he said that was exactly it!
While he and I were talking, Alex was eating and Conan was playing blanket football with 19! It was fun to watch them and I told him she was a big football fan!
We hang out for who knows how long but during that time 19 calls her parents at least twice to try to tell them she is going to be late but they are not answering. We decide after awhile that we really should go as we are way past the time she was planning to leave and its way past dark by now.
On the way home we chatted about the day and I thanked her so much for going with me as it was an amazingly successful day!!!