Saturday, March 2, 2019

I Just Play One on TV

A friend sent me a text the other day: “Dude! You’re on the front page!”

Mystified, I checked the online news source he directed me to, but couldn’t find anything.

Then I chanced upon an article about the Salvation Army’s push for volunteers to help with their roving food trucks.

And the accompanying picture of one of said trucks included yours truly (a volunteer) being served a meal by the nice folks at Sally Ann.

I had a brief chuckle at my inadvertent portrayal as one of the homeless community in K-town. On the heels of that thought, I realized how fitting my ‘mistaken identity’ actually was/is.
People experiencing homelessness—or at risk of homelessness—don’t always fit the stereotype. For every person you see pushing a heavy-laden shopping cart, there are dozens more who look pretty much like… me.
I’ve spoken with homeless people who were once wealthy real estate developers, gifted musicians, nurses, businessmen, etc. Yet in every case, something broke in their worlds, and here they are. They never foresaw where they’d end up. This wasn’t a ‘career choice’.

In any city, there are multiple ways of volunteering to serve among those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Every person has a story, dreams, hopes for the future. Each one is an unique human being, worthy of dignity and respect.

The reporter who took my photo couldn’t tell the difference. That’s fine—it’s a good reminder that our society’s most vulnerable people look just like the rest of us, more times than not.