Helping the Homeless

January 10, 2010
Dear Ron Hall and Denver Moore,

I would stare out the window of my mom’s SUV as we drove down the feeder road. I could see a stoplight coming up ahead and would automatically lock the car knowing that there might be a homeless person standing hopelessly on the corner. As we pulled up to the stoplight, I saw his face. An aged man, dirty, looked me straight in the eye and held up his sign that read, “HOMELESS. ANYTHING WILL HELP. GOD BLESS YOU. ” As much as I wanted to give him money, a burger, or something satisfying, something held me back, and I knew exactly what it was. I was too frightened by the old man because of the stories I have been told about the homeless. My mom always told me, “It’s not safe to give money to them because they could take all of your money, or they will have a gun and threaten you.” With that being said, I had this idea that all homeless were dangerous. It has been something that has terrified me for years, until now.

I picked up your book and stared at the title. Same Kind of Different As Me. I wondered what this could be about. It was a really mind-boggling title that obviously couldn’t be deciphered unless I read the book. I opened the cover and started to dive into the words that flowed elegantly across the page. I was overcome with the meaning that homeless people aren’t bad. When you took Denver into your home, you gave me great courage to not only care for the homeless but accept them. I realized that I had been blinded by my own myopia and my mother’s stories. I had believed that all homeless people are bad and I didn’t want to have those thoughts any longer. I wanted to be able to give them money, food, and water without being scared that they would pull a gun on me. By seeing how you two became such good friends, you gave me comfort and made me feel secure around those who are homeless. My perspective had changed, once and for all.

I never thought that there would be a day in my life where I would have enough courage to give a homeless man some food. Like I said before, I had been terribly frightened about homeless people using guns and jumping into the driver’s car demanding food or all the money they had. As we were driving down the feeder road, I saw a stoplight coming up ahead. I waited for my old familiar feelings to come back to me. Surprisingly they did not. There he was, the same scraggly looking man that stared at me with piercing eyes that said, “Please, give me some food.” I looked frantically for a local McDonald’s or a gas station. Suddenly, I saw a familiar looking sign that had illuminated golden arches. As I pointed to the McDonald’s, I asked my mom, “Mom, can we go to the McDonald’s? I would like to get a burger for this homeless man.” She said, “Sure,” and we drove to the drive-thru window. I ordered a burger and we drove back down the feeder. He was still there with his sign. I rolled down the window with courage and stuck my arm out remembering the good deeds that you did to become friends with Denver and handed him the burger. His dirty, frail hand stretched out and slowly took the burger out of my hand. With caring eyes, he looked up at me, nodded, and backed away. I silently rolled up with window. Images of his eyes and his frail hand taking the burger flashed through my head. I suddenly realized how the gift of giving is satisfying to not only myself but others, and I smiled to myself knowing that I had done a good deed. Because I read your book, I had the courage and comfort to know that the homeless are grateful for the things they recieve, and I was grateful for the lessons you taught me.

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