The skies are clear and sunny with 82 degree weather. Today i’m spending time with my daughter at an indoor entertainment center called Main Event in Avondale AZ. They have arcade machines, a bowling aisle, cafe and lazer tag arena.
We played skee ball, high striker, threw balls at a castle, rode motorcycles, drove cars, ate pizza and danced on an interactive video keyboard. At the end of our visit we went to the winners area and collected some prizes with the tokens we had gathered from the games. Her mom showed up and talked with me for a short time to get a recap of our day and inform me of the new things Emily was learning in her martial arts class as well as the award she was getting soon for her achievements.
We went our separate ways and i returned to my car. As i was sitting there preparing for the ride back home a man approached my driver side window, i lowered it and let him speak. He started his story by telling me “I’m going to be honest with you” than let me know that he was homeless, doesn’t do drugs or drink and needed $40 to get a hotel for the night so he could shave, take a shower and be prepared for his upcoming interview. I told him i only had $1 on hand and asked him how much he had. He said $10; at this point i realized that my amount wasn’t going to be sufficient and decided to leave my car so i could withdraw some money from the ATM inside.
When we entered the building he was amazed at the scope and scale of the interior and told me he had never been inside this place before. I withdrew $20 and led him back to my car as we continued to discussion his situation. I asked him if he had a phone and he said “no, someone stole it from me a few days ago, a friend has been letting me use his or i use one at McDonald’s” than he told me that he had been struggling financially since his mother died 6 years ago. She was his sole provider and parental figure serving the role of mother and father.
She died from a heart attack while she was working and it put him into a state of grief which caused him to lose his previous home, transportation and material possessions. After some time he realized that grief was a process and felt that his mother’s wish for him after her death would be to move forward in his life and make progress. He was desperate for change and determined to do whatever it took to improve his circumstances even if it meant asking strangers for help despite his pride and desire to take care of his own problems. He said that he was the type of person who would give money to someone in need when he’s doing well without feeling like he’s better than the other person, it would be from his heart because he had lived through the same experience and understood where they were coming from.
I felt compassion towards this man and understood his position in life at this point in time. I’ve hit rock bottom in my own way and had to find a way to climb my way out despite my discomfort along the way and damage to my ego. There are times in our lives when we’re struggling and times we’re succeeding. The times of challenges and hardships are when the most valuable lessons are learned and we’re humbled by the sobering reality that personal choice is the common denominator between all humans. It is up to you to decide how your story in life will unfold as you make choices every day that benefit yourself or those around you.
As you become better equipped to take care of yourself and navigate through all the situations that will present themselves in your journey through life be mindful not to forget where you came from, and be of service to others when it’s time to help them without expecting to get something in return.
This man sold me a story that resonated with me and i bought it for $20. He ended our interaction with this statement “Hopefully we can meet again when i’m not looking like this”