Learning about the homeless – February 15, 2009

In the parking lot of Starbucks, I met up with Mike from Leesville Louisiana. I have given money to Mike before, but this was the first time I paid close attention to who he was and what he said to me. Mike is about 50 and very weathered like most of the homeless. He has a full grey beard, wears a baseball cap and has typically dirty clothes. He has his shopping cart with all sorts of essentials for street survival. When I walked up to him and asked his name, he looked in my eyes with great clarity, a nice smile and said, “Mike.” I asked where he was from and he said Boston. For some reason I said, “Not where you are from, but where were you born?” He said, “Leesville, Louisiana.”

I handed him the $20 and walked away. As I walked away, he said, “Leesville was named after Robert E. Lee, the great general of the South in the Civil War.” Since Mike seemed so together, next time I see him, I am going to learn more about him and his life. I think I might ask him what is the tough part of homeless life.

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