Most days start with the same flutter ...rise , pray, write, get the kids out of the door and pointed to the school bus, mug of coffee to jumpstart things and then off into the world of men. How could I have known this day would be so different...the best day ever?
One clue would have been that our 6 year old, who was feeling ill the night before, needed one more day. One more in a day filled with appointments and pre-made plans. It's seems life is like that...figuring out how to fit in that one more thing.
My wife had a full day scheduled, practicing her skills at the CNA classes she has been attending. In the mix was a maintenance Doctors appointment for me. So I was with Jake and his Mom at the school until the very last minute.
There is never a short cut in public transportation. I found myself in Downtown Minneapolis, trying to get to St. Louis Park. If you've ever been at the Nicolett Mall on a Thursday you know that there is a farmer's market there. It seemed everybody was out enjoying the crisp Autumn like air. One of my favorite features of downtown are the street musicians. As passed I scratched in my pocket for change to toss in the bucket, wondering what it must be like to "eek" out a living playing music on the street. I came up with 3 pennies. I thought, "is it worth it?" I tossed them in and walked to the bus stop. It was all I could do.
As I waited on my connection I noticed a homeless man with a tiny baby blanket trying to stay warm behind his money cup and cardboard sign. I felt bad because I had just given my last 3 cents to a trumpet player. Then it occured to me...I went over to this man, introduced myself and told him, "I have no money but you can have this.", sliding my favorite hoodie off of my back and wrapping it over his shoulders. It was as if someone had turned a light on in a dark room. "Really?!", he smiled. I said, "Yes! Really. Maybe you will be a bit warmer. It's all I can do...."
My doctor's appointment went without incident. It was like a tune-up. Hopefully not for winter storage (if you know what I mean. **wink wink**).
Winding my way back home, I get off the bus to make another connection, just as an extremely intoxicated man falls off the bench onto his face. Had it not been for his aviator glasses, there would have been blood. I picked him up with the help of some bystanders and sat him back on the bench. I put my hand on his shoulder, mostly to keep him there, and listened to his story. He was a political refugee who came to the U.S. only to lose his wife to death and wondering how his life got so shattered and if he would end up in hell. I reminded him to lean back, not forward. It would help him stay on the bench. And I said, "My friend it looks to me like you are already in hell". A man seated to the far end of the bench, looked on and agreed.
The drunken man, George, said he believed in God and Mary...that he was Catholica. I let him know that I was Catholica too. I told him, "look...if you believe in Him, you should talk to Him and not to a bottle, take your problems to Jesus and not to a bar." Far End Man agreed too. During our"conversation" he somehow speed dialed a friend AND had her on speakerphone as well. "Hello....Hello....". George was oblivious. So I suggest he "call a friend" to come get him. Far End Man laughed. George then reaches out to touch my chest. He slurs, "let me touch you..let me touch you...you are an angel." I tell him that if he truly knew me he wouldn't be saying that. Far End man laughs again.
After a few minutes I asked him, "Hey George, can I borrow your phone?". He gave it to me and I called the last number dialed. It turned out that this woman was his significant other, and that she wanted him either to go to a police station or into detox. I gave him back his phone and, though it pained me, I went to a pay phone and dialed 911. At least I knew they would get him off the street and to professional help at best,, or a lock up in the drunk tank for 72 hours at worst. It was all I could do.
I came home and posted to my Facebook wall...
"I gave my last three pennies to a street musician, gave my favorite hoodie to a homeless man in a blanket, and helped an extremely intoxicated man get up off the sidewalk and get into detox...I spent the day cold, poor,and human also. Some days are just amazing like that."
So I guess the old saying is true. "God doesn't need our ability...only our availability".
It's all I could do...
Ok. I'm a pretty nice guy to a point.
I've kept to myself the injustice of losing my job after a doctor ordered my daughter to the hospital for diabetes. My manager was so panicked about filling the holes left in the schedule due to CAMELLIA FOOD STORES, INC cutting staff down to less than a skeleton crew , that she did not hear what I clearly said and left me on the schedule on the third day of my three day request. There wasn't the expected "how is your daughter?" that would come from a normal "friend". Instead there was yelling and unbecoming ignorance of what is and is not expected of her as a manager. She even blamed me that another worker happened to be on vacation that weekend. I even kept my peace when they displayed the corporate lackeys they are when I tried to make my case against this manager. Even when the store manager asked me "how do you know you said three days?". What?! (FYI I work two jobs and I told my other job exactly the same thing- they got the memo...)
And now I can not even get a simple piece of paper signed saying that I was terminated by CAMELLIA FOOD STORES, INC without delays and hoop jumping by everyone invoved. It is a part of a hardship case that resulted for my other daughters college.
I had privately determined two things. Number One I don't have time for people who do not genuinely care about me or my family. And Number Two as far as I can help it I will not buy another thing from Fresh Pride. I have wavered a bit on the last one because they are the only grocery on the Island and, sometimes, like during the N'oreaster, it is dangerous or impossible to get to my new favorite store Food Lion.
I have figured that in the course of a year my family spent close to $10,000 or more at Fresh Pride. As of today they will not get another penny from me. They purport to be a "local" and "friendly" food store. In reality, on a personal level, management there are fakers who like you only when things go their way and when it covers their a** to do so. They are fear from being local when any question you have for them must be passed through "corporate" on their terms.
They can't be humane because in doing so they are afraid they will break some corporate rule and end up fired themselves. To them it's "better you than me". This is why I can't get my "friends" there to write a note confirming that they let me go.
So I ask you as my readers and friends to simply do as I do. Don't spend money at a store that will fire someone for taking their child to a hospital and don"t waste your time on people who don't give a rip about you.