Even street people yearn for community – Let’s call him Bob

We don’t have to be rich to practice philanthropy

It was 4am and I had a McDonalds breakfast in a bag hoping to find a hungry soul, breakfast in exchange for a story.

His face looked familiar, the face of yet another stranger who lost their way. He was happy to share his story and what a story it was, he was new to the street community.

Bob tells me how connected street people are, how they share their knowledge, space and survival skills.

Bob, my new stranger friend tells me how he ended up living on the streets, a proud dad, hard worker and his struggles in the area of mental health. We talked about work, children, grandchildren, broken relationships, government, health care and on and on we went. How open one can be when we have nothing more to lose, life has worn Bob’s soul to the core.

My dad taught me very early in my teens to never judge someone’s life unless you’ve walked in their shoes, sharing a story of a street person I used to mock. Back in the late seventies in the streets of Perth there was a tall skinny man who sold jewellery off the pavement. He wore a black pointy witches hat, he had long black hair and had look about him that the lights were switched off in his head.

Dad, was far from a social worker, he had a goodwill about him and was just inquisitive how people end up where they did so he invited the stranger for a coffee for his story.

Dad shares with me the life story of the man I and my friends mocked. It was hard to believe the tall man wearing a witches hat who sold jewellery on the streets was a pilot, was in love and had his whole life mapped out until? Dad through his kind gesture made me walk in a strangers footsteps for just a moment and it made all the difference.

Before we judge another human being, take time out to hear their story and you may find yourself in their pages but for different circumstances and the Grace of God.

I hope Bob got the health care he needed and I’m confident the street community will look out for him in the meantime.

Bob, your story matters

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