This isn't my usual kind of posting, but I felt I needed to write this. Last night a "homeless" man came into the store and asked to change two dimes and five pennies for a quarter. Now, couple of weeks earlier another "homeless" man came in and wanted two dimes and three pennies for a quarter. I was not falling for it and said no. He then turned away and went across the street to another business. So, last night the gentleman simply asked for the exact change and the last experience I had my initial response was no. I wasn't even thinking and judged him. All he wanted was change to make a phone call. I felt like a jerk. He said to me he can't believe what people were saying to him that day and was having a bad day. I apologized and I told him I hope he has a better day and he left. He came in tonight and I greeted him and asked if his day was better. He was shocked that I remembered him and said, "Today is another day and it's never the same day." He bought a cup of coffee and sat down at our bar stool near our pastries. I decided to talk to him and have a chat. He was telling me how he was having a tough time and trying to get back on his feet. Now, some of you may be thinking he is trying to ask for something or trying to scam. No, he just wanted someone to talk to and needed to take a break. I got to know this gentleman a little bit more and he was an educated man with a lot of life experience. I had to close and he was off to find shelter for the night. I'm guilty of judging someone and I have no right to judge someone or anyone. I'm not saying every "homeless" person is like this person I met, but everyone is a human being. Sure, we walk down the street and get asked for money, but maybe some of them say hi just to be acknowledged and feel human. Maybe this is what Obama means by "change". We need to treat each other like human beings. We need to look at the person next to us and listen, understand, and somehow help each other. I hope that gentleman gets back on his feet. Hey, I hope he has the success story like the guy from Pursuit of Happyness. I would like to believe that is the direction he will take, but either way... he is a human being.
Good night Berkeley