Talked to two different street people tonight while I was downtown. I gave them each a McDonald’s gift card for supper.
I met two different men tonight on the streets of downtown Portland. I walked away with two different impressions.
First I met Steve outside a McDonald’s. I read his sign, then decided to go get some McDonald’s cards and give him one. But before I gave it to him, we talked.
Steve said he tries to get work as a day laborer every morning, sometimes with success. He hurt his back a couple years ago, so finding the right mechanical job was hard. He is sleeping on the street with his wife, and can’t go to the Portland Rescue mission because men and women have to separate, he said. I gave him a couple food cards, and walked away to my meeting feeling somewhat depressed.
After my meeting, I walked down to the waterfront where I encountered a fellow who called himself Milata. He asked me if I wanted to hear a happy song. I said sure. He got out his guitar, and played me an original song which was very good. After the song, we talked for a bit.
Milata said he was traveling, heading to San Diego, but liked Portland and decided to stay for awhile. He’s from Pennsylvania. We chatted about some sites I’ve seen in Philadelphia. He’s been playing guitar for years. My hunch is that he wasn’t completely honest with me, but I liked his song and his smile, so he got a food card too. I complemented him on his singing and walked away humming.
Two very different people scraping by.