History of Erin Boat

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The Unnecessary Backstory (the beginning)

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But Anyway by Blues Traveler

Blessed

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Back in January and February a homeless man used to come into Wendy's every day, and stay for hours reading his bible, or chatting with us and the other customers. He was a great man. Always laughing, making jokes, telling people he would pray for them. He never begged, even though he was quite open about his homelessness. Often, he refused people's offers to buy him something, explaining that if they did, would they please leave contact information so that he could pay them back someday.

One day, he came in, and headed straight for his table, where he sat, reading his bible. After an hour or two, he hadn't bought anything, which was unusual for him, but not unheard of. But that night, he looked sad, downtrodden. He didn't talk to me when I went by cleaning the tables, or when I went on break.

While on my break, I tried to talk to him, but he didn't seem to want to talk. After a while, I asked if he was hungry. His response was "you don't have to buy me anything."

"That wasn't the question." I rolled my eyes for effect. "Are you hungry?"

A little, but don't worry about it.

"I do worry," I explained. "No one should be hungry if they don't have to be." I got up, and went to buy him something.

"Just one doublestack," he said. It was our cheapest sandwich. Ninety nine cents. One-eleven after tax.

Sometime in early march he stopped being around. I often wondered what happened to him. About two weeks ago he reappeared. He didn't say a word to me or any of my co-workers. He didn't chat with any of the customers, and he didn't hang around and read his bible. He just came, ordered, ate, and left. At first I thought it was just someone who looked like him. A couple days later, he did the same

And then two days ago, he again came in, ordered, sat and ate. He didn't pull out his bible. I went on break and sat down, eating my own food. And by that point I had decided it wasn't him after all. That we now had a new regular who just reminded me of that old one. I mostly ignored him, since he didn't seems as social as he used to. I was texting my sister, and thinking about how I hadn't done dishes before work, when he came over and leaned over my table.

"Remember me?" he asked.

What? It was him after all. "Of course," I said. "Where've you been?"

"I got a job, working as a janitor at a church. I work most evenings so I don't come in anymore. I just wanted to give you this." he held his hand out. In it was one dollar, one dime, and one penny. $1.11.  One double stack. "Here. And thank you for that burger."

I told him to keep his money, and reminded him of what I said that night in February. No one should go hungry. I explain to him that when I buy someone food, I don't expect to get that money back, but I thanked him, anyways. The fact that he remembered and tried to pay me back meant a lot to me. I couldn't explain it to him then, and I can't now. It's a powerful gesture. I wanted to cry, or laugh or thank him more. But he just told me to have a blessed night, and then he left before I really figured out how to react.


I hope you have a wonderful, blessed life. You've certainly touched mine.

1 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful heart warming post to read first thing in the morning.

Yvonne.

June 27, 2011 at 4:12 AM

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