Sometimes when William talks to homeless people he hears stories that restore his faith. The following uplifting account was emailed anonymously to Simian Tales.
“Though I was homeless I always had hope. Some days people would talk to me or give me money or even just a smile, and a smile is sometimes worth more than a thousand dollars. There was one guy I saw on his way to work every day of the week and sometimes he’d drop a dime into my cup and others he’d just smile and say “Hi.” I’d kind of gotten to know the guy and he’d gotten to know me. Then one day on his way home he stopped by and gave me a happy meal, and hinted that maybe if I cleaned myself up he’d give me a job in his restaurant. “Yea right?” I said, “Who gives a person like me a job?” But then next day he stopped by again and said I could save myself. “Do you mean that?” I asked, and he said “Sure, if you really believe it.” “But can I believe you?” I said, and he said “I believe in you, that’s all that matters. Maybe you just need a helping hand. I’m just along the high street, come see me.”
So I knew a guy some blocks away who’d gotten clean and I called in a favour – could I get a shower? He said sure, so I did, and then with the few bucks I had to my name I went to a charity store and just about got myself a new skirt, a top and a neat pair of sandals barely worn. And then I went to the high street and asked for the guy in the suit. “I’m afraid he’s moved on,” they said.
Well hey, I thought, guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles, if you’re down on your luck you’re down on your luck and just have to walk the dog.
When I told my friend about this he couldn’t believe I’d just taken their word and not even asked where the guy had gone. I said what did it matter? If the guy really cared he would’ve told me he’d be moving on. “Do me a favour,” he said, “Go back there and ask where the guy moved on to.”
I believed this would be another wasted journey, but nonetheless I found myself doing what my friend said. And so I asked and was surprised to even have an answer, that he was just around the corner, promoted to manager of a bigger restaurant. So I walked around the corner and sure enough, there he was, bidding good day to a customer.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” he said back, “Go to the counter they’ll get you what you want.”
“For once I don’t want to eat,” I said, “Don’t you remember me?”
And so he stopped what he was doing and looked at me. After a few seconds the confusion drained away from his eyes and he said, “You’re the girl!”
“Guess so,” I said, “The girl who took your advice, cleaned herself up and here she is!”
The amazing thing is that the guy really was true to his word. He talked to me a while, gave me a trial and for the first time in years I was earning myself some money. His name was Larry. And right now, two years on I worked my way up the chain and now I’m Manageress, even found myself a small apartment. And so every day goes by I always think of Larry and thank him – for giving me a dime, or just the time of day, or even just a smile, then changing my life. I mean what guy does that kind of thing for somebody like me? A guy like Larry who gave me all of that, but most of all some self-respect again.
This morning on my way to work I saw a girl just like me, so I gave her a smile and said, “Hi.” Who knows, some day soon maybe I can give her a helping hand too?”