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On Cold Concrete

This Is How They Live

It was ten o’clock at night when Peter was getting off his shift at the popular pizza joint in his neighborhood. It was the same time every night for the last three years. He was working his way through college courses to earn his degree and get a better paying job. He was single and twenty-four years old with nothing much to show for his life except a bank account with money he was saving for a rainy day.

This one particular night when he was getting off work and walking home—he only lived about a quarter of a mile away from his job—he noticed a man sitting down on the sidewalk leaned up against a brick wall to a laundry establishment. The man was bundled up because it was a chilly November night, and as Peter walked past him, he noticed he had holes in his shoes and he could see his bare feet, which means he had no socks either.

Peter felt bad for this man and could imagine that his feet were hurting and sore. He stopped and walked back up to the man bundled up and asked him if he was okay? The homeless man looked up at Peter with a dirty face and told him he was fine before covering his head back up.

Peter again asked him if he was hungry because he had a pizza in his arm from work that he was taking home to eat. The dirty homeless man looked up again at Peter and told him that he was a little hungry. Peter then handed him the whole pizza and told him to enjoy himself. The man looked at Peter and then investigated the pizza, which was cheesy and still hot. He sat up and began eating one slice after another.

Peter can see by the way he was eating that he hadn’t eaten well in a while. While he stood there watching the homeless man eat, he sized up his feet and then told the man goodnight before walking away. He got so far off and then turned to look back at the homeless man and saw that he was still eating like a madman.

Peter then made it home and went immediately to his closet and began pulling shoes out and examining them. He found a pair that he had only worn a couple of times and then grabbed a clean pair of socks. He wrapped these items up in a plastic bag and went back out the door.

He walked back towards where he saw the homeless man to give him a pair of shoes and socks for his feet. As he walked, he could see the homeless man still in the same place and bundled back up like he was trying to sleep. Peter got closer and noticed the pizza box open. The homeless man ate every bit of pizza except for maybe two bites.

Peter leaned down and woke the homeless man up giving him the plastic bag. The man looked inside the bag and saw the pair of shoes and clean socks that looked very comfortable. He looked up at Peter and smiled, saying, “Thank you.” Peter told him he was welcome and that he deserved to have some good shoes and socks.

The homeless man sat up pushing the pizza box away where Peter picked it up and took it to a nearby trash can. He began taking off his torn shoes, and that’s when Peter could see how bad his feet were full of callus’ and blisters. It almost made Peter’s feet hurt to see the shape this man’s feet were in.

The homeless man was having a hard time getting the shoes on his feet, so Peter knelt and helped the homeless man put his new shoes and socks on. Once they were on, the homeless man felt so good having new shoes and socks that he couldn’t stop saying thank you and how much he appreciated it.

Peter had made a new friend and he knew it. Every night when he got off work, he would bring a pizza with him for when he would see this homeless man. The nights that he was there, Peter would sit down next to him and eat pizza. He saw how much the man enjoyed his company, and this became a normal ritual for Peter and this homeless man who slept on the streets.

On his day off, Peter would go to the neighborhood park to get some running done. He didn’t expect to see the homeless man there. He ran over to him and asked how he was doing? He still had the shoes on his feet and he could see the man was in better spirits.

The man said, “Hello,” and reached out to shake Peter’s hand. It was very pleasing to Peter to see how much appreciation goes a long way. He reached over and shook the man’s hand telling him he was welcome.

Peter then asked the homeless man if he wanted to join him for lunch? The man was very humbled by Peter's question and wasn't sure of what the right answer would have been, so he stumbled over his words and that's when Peter insisted he joins him for lunch at a nearby cafe.

The man was almost brought to tears by his offering a free meal to him. So, the man followed Peter and they went to a small cafe down the street where they sat outside and enjoyed a hearty meal. The homeless man along with Peter noticed how everyone kept staring at them and giving bad looks.

Peter decided to invite the man back to his house where he could clean up and get some fresh clothes to go along with those newer shoes. After they finished their meal, the homeless man got up to leave and told Peter, "Thank you for everything." He started to walk away when Peter stopped him and told him he was going back to his place for a bit.

The homeless man told Peter that was nice of him, but he didn't want to be a bother or smell up his house because he hadn't showered in a while. Peter said, "That's no problem, we will get you cleaned up and feeling human again."

The homeless man went with Peter back to his place, and while the man was taking a shower and using a razor that Peter had just bought to shave, Peter was going through his closet looking for clothing that he doesn't wear anymore.

He found about five or six outfits for the homeless man to have and wear, but with the threat of it being taken or stolen from him, Peter decided to keep them at his house in a separate dresser, just for him. He can come and shower regularly, get cleaned up and have fresh clothing to wear.

When the homeless man came out of the shower and had shaved, Peter just stood there in awe looking at a whole different man. He was so cleaned up you could never tell he was homeless. Peter was impressed by his new look and that's when he informed the man about coming to his house and getting cleaned up on a regular basis with fresh clothes that Peter showed him in the dresser.

The homeless man was so happy and thankful that it brought tears to his eyes that someone would help him out in a bad situation. He lost his job and then his wife kicked him out making him homeless and he had been out there for a couple of years because no one would hire someone homeless for work.

Well, Pater told him that he could use his address and that he would help him find a job so that he could get back on his feet. Again, the homeless man, whose name was Stanley, felt happy for the first time in years, and was very thankful for his new friend.

Peter watched him leave that evening a different man who was finally proud to say his own name and looked forward to a better future. Peter closed the door behind him and then sat on the couch thinking about Stanley and the situation he was in.

Next, he picked up the phone and made a few phone calls inquiring about a job for Stanley from some of his friends. No one had any positions open, so Peter called up his business partner and told him about the situation, and that he needed to hire someone for entry-level work in their business. His partner agreed about the job and told him to hire Stanley.

Once Peter was off the phone, he grabbed his keys and ran out the door looking for Stanley. He ran about a half mile down the road until he saw Stanley walking down the sidewalk with his head held high. Peter hollered out to him to stop and that he had some good news for him.

Stanley wondered what the news could be? Peter told him that he is giving him a job and that he is going to be living with Peter in his spare room until he can get on his feet with a place to live.

Stanley was ecstatic about the information and appreciated the job offer, but he tried to turn him down because Stanley said that he had already done too much for him. Peter couldn't understand why he wouldn't jump on the offer he was given.

Stanely now felt good about himself and wanted to do things on his own. He wanted to find his own job just to feel like a man and human, but thanked Peter so much for everything. He then said goodbye to Peter and walked off feeling proud of himself, knowing his future would be better.

Peter watched as Stanley walked off into the night, and since then, he hadn't seen Stanely anywhere on the streets. It was just like he disappeared. Peter went back to living his life happy to know that he did what he could to help someone in need.

A few months later, Peter was running in the park when someone hollered out to him. When he stopped, he looked around to see who called him but didn't see anyone he knew. Then, across the park, he saw a man and a woman walking his direction who were calling out to him.

When the couple reached Peter, it was then that he knew who it was. It was his friend Stanley all dressed up and feeling good about himself. Stanley spoke up and introduced his wife to Peter who herself told him thank you. Peter was in a daze at how well Stanley looked and that he and his wife got back together.

Stanley told Peter how that evening with him changed his life. Those simple good deeds made him feel so happy that he went out looking for a job the next day and used his old address where his wife lived. He got a job a few days later, and that's when he called his wife and told her what had happened. She took him back because she still loved him.

They got back together and he is still working, making more money than before, and they are happy. Peter was so happy for them that he hugged each one, offering congratulations. Stanley told Peter that he helped get stir up his motivation and he decided to turn his life around.

All it takes is one person to help another in need to make this story a reality. If you just bought someone homeless a meal, it would show them that someone still cares about them. It brings them back to life and breaks the cycle of homelessness within them. Wouldn't you help a friend or family member who is out there living on the streets if they needed you?

There are many people out there who get stuck in the vicious cycle of being homeless and the drugs and alcohol are the coping mechanisms that keep them alive. No matter what their situation is, they are still human beings and need our help. Just help one person and see the true appreciation that it brings.

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On Cold Concrete
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