Long story short, took a homeless guy to dinner(not actually homeless, but we’ll get to that later), and it went perfectly fine. He seemed surprised/ecstatic about it and was very accommodating, but I feel like a jerk and I’ll explain why at the end. For starters I’ll explain how this happened in case anyone else is thinking of doing the same thing(which I highly encourage).
After writing I Can Freeze Time I resolved to take a homeless guy out to dinner. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and after writing the story I realize my weekend was pretty open, so why not? I’m a big guy so I’m not really worried about anything happening, and it doesn’t cost that much.
So I get in my car and start driving around town to all the intersections where I see people typically begging for money, and it takes a good fifteen twenty minutes, but I eventually see a guy by the side of the road with a crutch looking like he’s begging for money. I don’t see a sign but I figure the sun is going down and it’s pretty cold, so nobody who doesn’t have to be outside is going to be sitting at a windy intersection.
I see that he is having trouble walking, and I’m not comfortable letting him get in my car(although in hindsight I totally should have), so I drive around to a nearby grocery store, pick up bottled water, trail mix, and beef jerky, and walk over to the intersection where he’s still sitting there. On the walk over I realize how very cold it is outside, and decide maybe I should try and take him to a restaurant so he can get out of the cold for a little while. And if not I can always just give him the food I’ve brought and be on my way
I get to the intersection walk over and say hi to the guy and ask him if he wants to go to dinner. At this point a couple things I didn’t count on happened. First, the guy doesn’t speak much English(I found out later he was Romanian), so it’s a little hard to communicate ‘I want to take you to dinner’. Second, this guy was hard to give stuff to. I had to reiterate several times that I wanted to take him to dinner(even though he spoke enough English to understand that), and when I gave him the food I had to confirm for him like four times that yes the food was for him. It wasn’t that much food. It was like twenty dollars worth of boring old backpacking type food. I’ve blown way more money than that on stupid things. There’s an xbox game sitting on my shelf right now that I’ve never even put into my machine that cost twenty dollars.
That was about all there was to it. We then walked over to the restaurant, ate, and I left. I spent less than an hour with him all told, and the whole thing ran me less than forty dollars even including gas.
And this is part of the reason why I’m a terrible human being. Forty dollars is seriously not that much money. My disposable income is definitely more than that, as I’ve said. I’ve practically thrown away that kind of money on a whim before. I’m not loaded by any means, but I could definitely afford to do this weekly, if not several times a week. So why don’t I?
Fear is probably a part of it. You’re kind of drawing a wild card when it comes to talking to people to in general, and homeless are kind of on the edge of society so it’s even more random what you might find when talking to them. Now that I’ve actually done it it’s something I’ll probably do much more frequently, but I feel pretty terrible that I haven’t done this before now.
That fear is the other reason why I feel terrible. I approached this I like would approach petting a wild animal. As I was driving around in the back of my head I was thinking ‘Okay, what if this guy tries to follow me to my car?’ ‘What if this guy pulls a knife on me?’ Like the guy was automatically creepy or just a flat a criminal.
What was the guy actually like? Super nice, he tried to keep the conversation about me mostly. Asking about my family, and telling me exhaustively ‘God bless you. You are a good man’. I was a little afraid of getting robbed, and later one when I got comfortable enough to do a magic trick that involved looking in the back of my wallet, the guy wouldn’t touch my wallet. I pushed it towards him and repeatedly said ‘look in the back of my wallet’ and the guy pushed it back and shook his head. I had to open the wallet for him so he could see the card I had hidden inside to finish the trick.
When we left(he told me his brother was coming to pick him up, so I’m not sure if he really was homeless, poor, or just made up the story about his brother to make me feel better), he showered me with more praise than I think any single person has ever given me ever. It took a full minute to say goodbye because he just kept telling me how great I was.
I’m not sure I’ve ever made anyone as happy as I made this guy, and all it took was about an hour and a half all told, and forty dollars. 90 minutes, and less than the cost of a new xbox time to make someone feel like god himself reached down from the heavens to make their day. And I’ve done it exactly once in my entire life even though I’ve had to do the resources to do this for a while now.
You know what the worst part is? Besides the fact that I’m posting this so I’m going to get some kind of credit for this. The worst part is that this is uncommon. This is news. I get that some people who aren’t large males like me might genuinely have some concerns for their safety, especially if they don’t have groups of friends to go with. But I know practically no one who has done this, and I have plenty of large male friends and coworkers. I feel ashamed that this is something abnormal, something to post about. I wouldn’t post about a date I’ve been on or getting a promotion at work, but I’m posting about this because it’s the most outlandish thing that’s happened in my life since I started this blog.
I hope I haven’t made you feel terrible too. I’m just trying to express how incredibly hard I thought this was going to be, and how effortless it turned out to be. The guy was a perfect gentlemen. If it had been a date he’d be getting a call for a second date tomorrow. Yet it took me years to get up the courage to do this.
Now I may have lucked out, maybe this is the nicest homeless guy ever, but I don’t think so. I think there are plenty of people out there just like him, and I hope that reading this takes some of the pressure off, because it’s really opened my eyes. I hope you take a homeless person out to dinner, might just open up your eyes too.