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  • Thursday, June 23, 2011

    An Interesting Couple of Hours

    It was a fascinating night. I'm not talking about how it rained relentlessly and how I wandered around Boston, day and night, soaked to the bone. I'm referring to how I helped a homeless man with his web site (he had a netbook and a city of free wifi connections).

    I had to get out of the rain, so ducked into a McDonald's, hoping to use their free WiFi and see if the rain would pass in the meantime. It never did. Seeing I had a computer, he approached me with a question about his web site. He talked for a couple of hours about the contents of the site. Without going into details right now, I'll just say he told a fascinating tale about a prophecy foretold to him about Superman, OJ Simpson, David Keresh, and a little girl with red rain boots.

    I didn't tell him my own story, but when he asked where it was that I called home, I just said , "Right now, nowhere. Just travelling and staying in hostels." He seemed happy to believe I was a penniless wanderer, or as he put it, "A fellow poor man." I couldn't tell him that I left my home and job deliberately. And anyway, with me in old soaking wet clothes and two weeks of not shaving, I certainly looked the part.

    If I never write about this man again, the one thing I want to say is that even though he had so little, he still tried to give me 3 of his $13. Not for the computer help, but because he thought I needed it. He was intent on helping me.  He twice offered to buy me hot chocolate or ice cream, or anything I wanted at McDonalds.  Later, when leading me to the subway station, he introduced me to a man who became homeless and paralyzed after being struck by a car.  He then tried to give me money for the subway. I told him I had money, but I think he thought I just didn't want any charity.  I hate to think of all the homeless people I saw on the streets the past couple of weeks that I ignored when they were asking for spare change.

    This reminded me of a story I once heard.  It was about an old man who gave a homeless man $10, even though he didn't have much money to spare.  He turned to his grandson and said, "Son, today we are rich."  This confused the boy, so he asked his grandpa what he meant.  He said, "because we have everything we need, and still had $10 to spare."

    To Bil, it seems unlikely that you will ever read this post on your netbook, but just wanted to again say thanks for your amazing generosity.  I will not soon forget it.