| Que Jones
Just this past month, I was sitting on the COTA bus on my way to school. It was a Tuesday and the weather was that of a blustery autumn day. I witnessed something that morning that would shake the very foundations of how I think. In front of our Short North Kroger were two homeless gentlemen sitting on the bench by the bus stop. One was eating a bag of snack mix and sharing with the older of the two. The bus pulled up and they both stood up to get on the bus; I later found out they were on their way to a lunch program in north Columbus. The older man paid his way on with a bus ticket while the other man counted change he had been given to get on the bus. He came up short! At this point other passengers were getting irritated as well as the driver (he had a schedule to keep) and the man sheepishly began to step off the bus. The older gentleman, who was also homeless, pulled out a dollar to pay the other man's way onto the bus. It wasn't the college students standing in the front who would readily throw their dollars into a cup of coffee or soda who paid for his ticket, but the homeless man who barely had enough to take care of himself. The other man thanked him and got on the bus, where they proceeded to sit in different spots.
The older gentleman ended up sitting in front of me and I was so intrigued by what I had just witnessed. I struck up a conversation. “Did you want to sit by your friend? I could get up,” I said. “Oh, I don’t know him,” he responded.
I was so caught off guard. I had just witnessed the two sharing food and helping pay each other’s way. His name is Red, nothing more and nothing less as he put it, and he is a remarkable human being. Working for years in a dying industrial industry he finally was forced out of, Red found a home amongst the other vagabonds of Columbus. Red is not a drug user, though he has been known to enjoy a beer or two. Even though Red has nothing, he is willing to give everything to help another.
I started asking Red about how to help the homeless who are sometimes going to take the money and use if for harmful things. Here is what he said:
What I learned from Red is that we need to help each other, and I mean TRULY HELP! Giving someone a dollar may be what he or she needs, and it may not. Take a second of your time and get to know them because maybe there is something else you can do. And finally, GIVE TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS! We don’t need most of what we want and living without it will simply make us appreciate life more. When giving to charities however, beware! Make sure it is a valid charity with truly wonderful goals, and is open to all people. I’m not naming any names, but we will let the bells in the distance speak for themselves.