“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”
― Lao Tzu
Everyone on this planet is not fed with a silver spoon. But when you have the time and opportunity to help others in need or to even show that you care then it can really change someone’s day or maybe even their life. For my service project I didn’t know it was going to be my project until after the experience occurred.
First off, one day I was filling up my gas tank at Circle K, when a man approached me and he looked pretty rough and I was caught off guard, he proceeded to ask me for a few bucks so he could go get some food and a drink. In doing so I checked to see if I had any spare change lying around, I gave him a couple quarters and said “Sorry man that’s all I got right now”, he was very thankful. I went on throughout my day knowing I did a good deed. About a week later I was going to fill up my gas tank after work at the same Circle K, guess who I saw? Sitting on the curb was the same man that I saw and tried to help out just a week ago, I had just gotten off of a long closing shift at Panera Bread and I was able to take some pastries and cookies home and I had more than enough so I approached him and offered him some of the food. He took it and had a huge smile on his face he was very thankful and polite, giving him food felt even better in my heart because I knew he would appreciate it more than some pocket change.
Next, the following morning I was planning on taking my boat out to go fishing around eight in the morning with one of my friends. I was going about my usual routine to swing by the same Circle K gas station to grab a bag of ice for my cooler. While I was walking out to get the ice I saw the same man from the night before and he was in the same spot half asleep. I said “What’s up?’ to him I don’t think he recognized me. What he did recognize was the boat that I had on the back of the truck. He began telling me how much he missed being on the water back in Louisiana so that’s when I gave my buddy the look and he shrugged his shoulders. So I proceeded to ask him if he wanted to tag along and considering his situation he was more than willing to get in the car and ride to the lake with us. When we got to the boat landing on Lake Jackson the stories of Rusty the homeless man started to unwind.
Lastly, once we got the boat in the water Rusty started telling us about his life in Louisiana and how he ended up where he is today. He told us he used to be a fisherman on the bayou in Louisiana and was able to make a living then Hurricane Katrina ripped through the state and Rusty had no choice but to relocate to Florida. In doing so he thought he could find work and make ends meet but sadly his plan backfired and couldn’t find any housing. He then confessed to us that he had a few demons that still haunted him to this day, sadly he battles with alcoholism, He had no money saved when he arrived in Florida and no one that was close to him, so his addiction spun out of control and he ended up homeless sleeping on the cold ground every night. As the day went on I could tell he was loving being out on the water for the first time in a long time. As the day was coming to an end and we were watching the sun go down below the trees and Rusty said to us “you know what guys? You really made me forget about all the bad things I’ve gone through in my life and made me feel like a normal guy again.” Hearing this made me feel like I changed his life in a small but meaningful way.
All in all, looking back the reason for doing this was just to give the guy an experience filled with joy and to show him a good time because just by looking at him I knew he had a rough life. Doing this changed my outlook on people struggling with homelessness because no matter what happens in life you can always find a way to feel happy. I feel that I impacted his life by showing him a good time, getting him out of his daily routine of panhandling just to survive, to make him feel human again even if it was just for a few hours.