A quick wave and he hurries across the road. I can imagine what must be going through his head. “Who is this guy?” “What does he want, is he going to talk down to me, is he going to help me, is he going to throw me in his trunk?.?.?”
Meet Dean, homeless, hungry, jobless. But his enthusiasm to share his life situation, frustrations and kindness is like no other.
In an instant, we are deep into conversation. It’s interesting how quickly two individuals who don’t know each other can drop into conversation as if they’ve been best friends for life.
Dean had a great life. Born in Hartford, spending life in Connecticut. Married, daughter, owned his own business. He went out of his way to help his clients around their property while he was there doing what he was hired to do.
Owning a power washing company had Dean up and down many ladders. And it was this one day when he fell, from the top of the ladder slipping. Landing and as he said “I was just happy that I could move my feet and arms”. Breaking his back, resulting in two rods being places in his lower back.
Life can change. In an instant, change. Gosh, if we haven’t all felt that because of covid. Now think about a life changing situation such as falling from a ladder, unable to work. Unable to do much of anything for yourself.
Top that off with a wife that leaves you, taking your daughter. His father passed away from cancer and his mother moved to Florida, coming back to CT. and passing away a day after she came back.
Everything, in one slip, in one instant. Changed. And now you meet Dean 2020. When I asked if he has a roof over his head at night he said yes, the one that covers the bench he sleeps in outside the bus station. Unable to even take his shoes off at night because they will get stolen. “That’s what happened once and now I just have to keep them on”.
“JOE! I’m still there, that’s my spot” he yells across the intersection as another homeless friend starts crossing the street. Respect though, that’s what happened because his “friend” just hung out and when we were done chatting they met up, hugged and went their respectful ways.
Anyway, Dean… When I asked him if there’s one thing he needs more of living on the street he said “this”… “What you’re doing. You’re talking to me. You’re treating me as an equal.” – “people spit at us as they drive by, ask us if they want food and then they take a bite of what they have and drive off, they give us bottles of who knows what, we don’t drink those”….
There was much more, especially about how those on the streets are treated. “Tim, man, I appreciate you, I need to get back over to my spot because traffic is picking up. You are too kind” With a fist bump he scurries back across the street, quick greeting with Joe before he’s back in “his spot”.
All he wanted was respect. But before leaving, I gave him the three bananas that I had, two cliff bars, a bottle of water and the $10 I had in my pocket.
We are all equal, WE ARE ALL EQUAL.
Meet Dean, homeless, hungry, jobless.
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Dean did tell me where I can find him and said he would love to sit down and share more of his story for a video and podcast. So I will meet up with Dean again soon! And I will show up with sweaters and jackets for him.