I just witnessed the most beautiful thing when I was sitting in Starbucks this morning and thought I would share.
A young man came in – maybe 15 to 16 years old. He brought with him an unopened package of cookies that he tore open quickly and ate as though he has never eaten before.
He ate the entire package of cookies.
He didn’t smell great and he was talking to himself. Not exactly a typical Starbucks customer. People were looking at him, noticing him and it was awkward.
He had come on a bicycle – it’s cold out this morning and he was wearing a T-Shirt.
There’s a group of businesspeople that I often see at this same Starbucks. Some I recognize because they’re real estate agents and I’ve seen their faces on advertisements before. It’s a group of about 8 or 9 of them that were there together.
I could tell they were casually talking about this young man, glancing at him and I figured that they were bothered by his presence.
This went on for a few minutes and then something awesome happened!
One lady from the group got up, approached the young man as he was going outside. She brought him back in, took him up to the cash register and told him she would buy him whatever he wanted.
After he got a few items, another man in the group followed the young man outside, took his own brand name jacket off and gave it to the young man. No questions asked.
The young man put the coat on, got on his bike and left.
I know there are all kinds of different thoughts and ideas as it relates to addiction and homelessness, but the reality (no matter what your political or religious affiliation might be) is that everyone needs to eat and everyone needs appropriate clothing for the season.
How he came to be homeless is less important at the moment vs. his immediate need for food and proper clothing.
He needed help and someone stepped up to help him.
What a great reminder of what “love your neighbour” looks like, especially before tomorrow’s election.
A political party is unlikely to solve many of the complex social issues that we face. The problems are growing and we can’t avoid the tough discussions.
Some people will say that this young man probably made some bad decisions and he was reaping the consequences of his actions.
That may be true. But haven’t we ALL made some terrible decisions?
I know I have!
Maybe our bad decisions didn’t end up causing us to be homeless or addicted to a substance, but that could be because we were playing with a different set of social supports or different emotional, educational or financial tools than someone else.
I don’t have all the answers. Justin Trudeau doesn’t have all the answers and neither does Andrew Scheer.
But what we can all do, regardless of who we vote for, is support people in our community with their most basic needs and then see where things go from there.