Jamie stops me as I am making exit from the quick mart. This man’s demeanor is polite, shy and apologetic. He asks if I could help him out with something to eat. I mention that I’d be happy to do so but hint the choices would be rather limited in this store. I suggest a hotdog or sandwich and perhaps a soda. Jamie replies that he would prefer a bottle of water and string cheese. String cheese? Odd, I thought! He then indicates, meat products do not agree with him.
I step back into the mart and place 6 mozzarella sticks, a bottled water and box of crackers on the counter. The store clerk asks if I am bothered by the man outside. “Indeed not”, I state, “he’s simply hungry”. I walk back outside and hand the bag to Jamie. He is overjoyed with the crackers and hopes their purchase wasn’t too much trouble.
I ask Jamie how long he has been on the streets and caution that sleeping outside in this cold Santa Fe winter might be rather dangerous. He goes on to mention he isn’t really homeless and sleeps in a mobile trailer, although conceding it is without electricity, plumbing or heat. I have spoken to more than a few individuals that call the streets home and quickly recognize that Jamie is suffering from mental illness. I’m crushed!
I advise that Jamie stay safe and wish a “Goodnight” !
Not that any person, no matter the circumstance, should ever spend even one evening homeless, it is the mentally ill that very much pull at my heartstrings. These folks need proper care and all too often have no discernment to their plight. The streets are no place for this Nation’s mentally unstable. This matter, it seems to me, isn’t a question of social responsibility but rather speaks to convictions in humanity.
We must do better by our fellow man!
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