Thursday, January 13, 2005

I walked straight past him...

I filled up with diesel. I went to pay at the kiosk - until then I hadn't seen him. Huddled in the corner by the door was a young guy begging. I shot a cursory glance. I hadn't seen him before his attention to detail was good from his 100% dishevelled look to a half 'Big Mac' box with the scraps of change.

Sometimes you want a night off; sometimes you feel as though someone else could get involved; sometimes you suffer a charitas fatigue - surely someone else could take up the strain - to be honest all I want to do is pay and get going. I walked straight past him...

I join the grim faced queue waiting to pay. There is a inward tugging going on. I relent. I go and get some milk to add to the bill. I'll just give him the milk but more for my good than his. As I walk out I stoop down and say "listen I don't do money but here's a pint of milk" He is really grateful and I feel ashamed.

I can't walk by again so I sit and chat with him. First I am struck by the smell of his feet! then his obvious intelligence. The grim face queue parade past back to their cars as I hear his story of depression and domestic violence. I hear his fight not to spiral back into the world of drugs he has just about escaped. I hear his sense of hopelessness. His fear. I explain who I am and ask him to come and see me at the SA. "See you tomorrow Miguel"

That was yesterday - today Miguel came by - we helped him with some food and clean clothes. We chatted some more as he left he grabbed my hand - shook it, smiled and in his slight Portuguese accent said "Thanks for not walking by..."

Funny how it didn't actually make me feel that great!

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