A WISE STORY:__________ Luck or ...

 One time I noticed a new homeless man in my neighborhood. A middle aged man who was always busy collecting cans and glass bottles and I guess anything he could turn into some cash. He was more decent than many of the other homeless people, he looked like he was changing his clothes relatively often and he must have taken showers too because he never smelled.
I like to be safe so I keep an open eye on everything around me. I like to know who lives next door, who are the business owners and the employees of the stores in my street and how often the cops drive around. Knowing these things make me safe and if there is any change that I notice, I investigate it further.
This open eye strategy led me to notice this homeless guy who quietly yet very diligently went from trash can to trash can to look for any valuables. There have been about four homeless guys around who sometimes appeared in this part of the city but none of them worked so hard - if you can of course consider collecting cans and bottles a job or work. This particular guy came as scheduled every morning, went through every garbage can thoroughly, took out what he needed then he put back the remaining garbage to the can and he went to the next one. Later early in the evening, he was back again and did the same routine once again.
His scheduled and organized method of collecting just amazed me and I strongly believe many workers could have actually learned from him how to be punctual, how to organize their time and how to work hard.
One day about a year ago I approached to him. I asked him ‘You seem new here. Where did you come from?’ He looked at me with his bright blue eyes and said ‘I do not want to bother you Sir, I just collect cans and other stuff to turn them into some cash’. I said ‘It is OK, you do not bother me, I was just curious because I have never seen you before and I know about everything here, I kind of voluntarily patrol the street to see any irregularities.’ As he put back the garbage he did not want into the trash can he said ‘Well Sir I came to Brooklyn from New Jersey where I could not find enough stuff to provide me food, drinks and clothes. Sometimes I buy clothes too, I prefer to have clean things. If you don’t mind I have to go now so I can finish my “circle” before others come and take it’
When he left I followed him with my eyes. He walked straight and he pushed his shopping cart in front of him. Not only he looked very decent but also he talked decent. To me he seemed like someone who had lived a normal life until for some reason he had no choice but living on the streets.
Then at Christmas time when the freezing temperatures arrived in New York I walked up to him and wished him Merry Christmas. I prepared a greeting card for him and I put 75 dollars in it. I wrote ‘Merry Christmas to the hardest working homeless guy. I hope you will be able to find a nice winter jacket for yourself for Christmas. And I hope next year brings you happiness and some luck. The latter one I will pray for myself. ’He took the envelope from me and wished me Happy Holidays and then left.
The next day when I went down to my mailbox I found a blank envelope that was not addressed to anybody and it did not indicate the sender neither. I opened the envelope and it was a Christmas card in it. I opened it and there was the 75 dollars with a note on the card: ‘Merry Christmas to the nicest neighborhood watch patrols I ever met. Thank you for the money but no thanks. I might be homeless but I am not a beggar.  I do work for my money and I can buy a jacket from my little earnings if I want to. Next time buy me rather the jacket because that I will not be able to fit into your mailbox. Merry Christmas, Jack, the homeless.’ And there was a big smiley face sitting on top of a Christmas tree drawing.
After Christmas Jack disappeared and I did not know anything about him. I was worrying at times if he was still alive and was wondering if yes why he left and where he went. Other times I was just standing in the corner and waiting for him to arrive. His daily appearance became part of the street and also my life and now that he was gone I missed his presence.
At the beginning of May, I found a letter in my mailbox that was from a guy named John Calgary and the letter came from Atlanta. It was addressed to me yet I did not know anybody with that name and frankly I did not anybody in Atlanta. I opened the letter and read it. It was from Jack. He wrote that he moved to Atlanta because a guy he met in Brooklyn offered him a construction job and accommodation down there. He wrote it seemed his life would be on the right path again and he was very hopeful about his future.
At the end of the letter he put ‘I don’t know if you really prayed for me but if you did I am very grateful because it seems I finally found luck’.

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Jul 12, 2010