With the holiday here people tend to focus their minds on family and turkey dinners.Many are gearing up for the proverbial - over the river and through the woods - drama. Others still are counting down the minutes to BLACK FRIDAY and the onslaught of consumer hedonism. There is still a few who live for the inevitable football games that you can fall asleep to after the overindulgence at the dinner table kicks in. Whatever your notion of thanksgiving is, take the time to look around - really look around. Is there a neighbor who needs help? A mother struggling to juggle an anxious toddler and groceries at the store? What simple act could you do to make somebody ELSE feel cared for?
Mine came today on a coolish damp dreary day on the way home from work. I was driving along I-70 annoyed that the mist had ruined a carwash I had just done the day before. I was listening to christmas tunes and thinking about all the stuff that needed to be done before we celebrate Thanksgiving when I saw him...He was WALKING his bicycle along the side of the freeway. Traffic was blowing by him at 75mph kicking up wind and rain and making his westward travels very unpleasant. Nobody was probably even aware of his presence on the side of the road. I didn't even think of stopping until I got about a mile past him, and then something told me to turn around. I double backed around and came up and parked in front of him. The bike was a well worn mountain bike normally used for trail riding, loaded up with a tent and sleeping bag and seemingly everything you could want for a long trip. I asked if everything was alright and if he needed some help.
Edward, older hispanic man is blind in one eye. His hair was long and matted down from both the rain and his explanation that he hadn't showered in two weeks since he had begun his bicycle journey from NYC after a relationship breakup. He had been sleeping outside each night in parks while he was making his way to Denver to start a new life. You could see by the callouses on his hands (he wore no gloves) and the leathery texture of his skin that he was used to hard work out in the elements. I'm sure that this weather was still of no concern to him. We loaded up the bike in my truck and he asked me where the nearest hotel was since he was going to "treat" himself to a warm bed and shower. As he sat in the seat you could see how thin he really was...it looked like he hadn't eaten well in days. We talked the few minutes it took to get the the motel. Its strange how you can get a feel for someone in such a short time. The motel didn't really want to rent a room to him because of how he looked - well like a homeless guy which is really what he was. I prepaid a room for him and got him a meal never with him asking or implying that "could I". It was really humbling when he shook my hand in thanks and handed me all the money he had...here is a guy with almost nothing but the clothes on his back giving me his last few dollars. Obviously, I said no but the fact that he OFFERED to give whatever he had....it was very important to him to show his thanks.
Isn't this the spirit of giving and thankfulness that we want to share during the holiday season? I will probably never see him again but I don't think his memory will ever leave me. Thank you Edward.