Last summer I decided to venture out into the town and enjoy Atlanta's Sweet Auburn Fest with this young lady I was trying to be friends with at the time. I had a pretty decent time, but that's not what Im here to write about. I wanna talk about something that woke me up in the middle of the night after my outing.

On the walk back to the car, I hear a voice calling out "Sir! Sir!" Now, being use to this environment, I have grown accustomed to tuning out every noise that doesn't sound like the people Im with or danger. But this guy CONTINUES to yell. (Did I mention that this person is across the street?) After realizing that I was the "Sir" that the person was referring to, I look over and the person asked "Can you help me get something to eat?" I gave my automatic "Im sorry" response and kept walking. I had been trained not to give homeless people money a long time ago - not by my parents, but by working downtown and being taken advantage of by people who weren't as homeless as they pretended to be. I knew a former homeless person and he told me to NEVER give a homeless person money. "You give them money and the first thing they do is take it and get pissy drunk" he said. But this guy ain't ask me for money; he asked me to help him get somethin to eat and I didn't do it. I was selfish... but even worse, I had been conditioned to be automatically selfish without giving it a thought. So here I was feeling crazy on the inside at 3 am because I wouldn't stop to give this man $1... or even 50 cents. I didn't share at all. I didn't even think about sharing... and I lost sleep over it that night. I know many may be thinking "Dude, its not that serious." But it is. Imagine the shoe on the other foot.

I'm remembering this after going to the park with some friends of mine to help feed homeless people in the park downtown. When you don't deal with them, you tend to forget that most of these people are really on the street. They are real people, with real feelings, that - whether its their fault or not - fell on hard times. NOBODY wants to live on the street or in shelters. Im pretty sure most of them would go home to a warm bed and good meals if they could... but they couldn't. They're out here on the street freezing half to death (and boy was it cold that day). To let you know how bad off some of them were... I didn't even touch anybody that day; I was few feet back with the camera but the smell stayed on my clothes for what seemed like hours. I almost felt bad for pulling out my camera, but I was asked to do it as a favor for the homeboy who is trying to start a movement. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have even pulled the camera out. Looking through the lens of a camera kinda removes you from reality for a moment but the truth of the matter still sunk in: these weren't all derelicts who were on drugs and full of alcohol as some tried to paint them (some where a lil crazy tho); they still had a lot of pride and probably just happened to miss those three paychecks that would make most "check to check" people homeless. Some of them were asking for me not to get their faces on camera in an effort to try to save face from mass humiliation and, I imagine, with the hopes of returning to what they use to know as "normal" without having "homeless" on their resume.

I kept my video shooting brief, got back into my car, and later praised God after experiencing yet another reminder of how good we actually have it. We complain that our heated leather seats take too long to warm up... meanwhile, they don't even have a coat.


Think about it.

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