What is the most impressive thing a homeless person has said to you?

I’m not asking you for money, I’m asking you for 0.83 cents for the 2.17 dollars I need to buy YOU some oil…

I left my home (as always) at 5 p.m.Not a big deal, I just finished a probationary period and was more than ready to free myself from the addiction and hypocrisy that occupied me there. Having been in a juvenile detention centre all my life and leaving them, I knew that my next stop was prison if I didn’t get my shit together. So leaving was my only option.

My mother gave me an uninsured, ill-directed Ford Explorer that was previously hers.I drove to the next bigger city, Tallahassee. I had a family that I met here and there, but my family wasn’t always like a family. I got a new job at another truck stop in a very short time. It was a fast food chain: Subway. Some evenings I slept in my truck at Lake Ella and ate only what I could get at work. Showers at the rest area for a fee of 5 USD. I was homeless.

I slept on my friends’ sofas and with a friend I always sneaked into her father’s house so I could sleep with her.I did it even though it wasn’t very nice, it wasn’t absolutely bad either.

Advance a few months.. I met a man from Ethiopia who hired me, so a second job.I worked from 11 a.m. to 7 a.m. (24/7 subway) and then had to go to my next job from 19:30 to 15:00. I was tired and my truck was running hot and it was raining. I thought about going home, but then …

I stopped at the nearest gas station on the street to refill some coolant when a homeless man approached me with beer in his hand.”Good morning, please let me help you, if you take off the top, you get hurt, young lady.” I said, “Look, I don’t have any money i can give you.” He just sits down and doesn’t say a word. I tinker with my truck, add coolant, but shit, the coolant is full, no coolant is needed. Oil, f**** my life !!!! I don’t have any money, I have a cheque that I haven’t cashed, but i don’t have a penny with me. Tears ran down my face. I was in serious trouble and losing my other job. (At least I thought so.) … But then:

The homeless man comes to my window and asks me to roll it down.I hesitate. Then he asked me for 0.83 cents. Angry, I told him again: “I’m broke. Please, I’m having a hard time right now, don’t ask me for money for your crap. ‘I’ve never really been a mean person, bipolar yes, but not mean. The words struck my belly as soon as they came out of my mouth, but what came out of his mouth was the big KO.

I’m not asking you for money, I’m asking you for 0.83 cents for the 2.17 dollars I need to buy YOU some oil…

He bought me some oil and filled it in for me.When heaven wept, So did I.

I was so ashamed of myself, the way I treated this man was cruel and I had to do the wrong thing.After filling the oil, he drops my hood and knocks on my hood twice. I think that’s the universal sign of this: it’s time to go. He smiled as I thanked me and withdrew.

I called my boss and told him what happened.I then told him I was late because I had to pay a bill. I had to pay this man back the money. I had a cheque for a little less than 300 dollars. I went to the bank and immediately broke him in and prayed all the time that this man would sit in front of this shop and there he was.

This time I literally jump out, ask him to go in and buy me a beer and get a bag.I give him the money and he asks what kind of beer, I only answer your choice and he should grab one more. He comes back and offers me his box, I lean back and sit right next to him on the floor. A “211 Steel Reserve” must be the worst beer ever. He was watching my face as I took the first sip and he burst into laughter.

He told me about his life and I told him about mine.He was shocked, but so was I. We had so much in common. He was on the streets for more than 20 years. One day his mental health sank. He was a veteran and after so much stress with bills and trying to keep a family together, he just left. He felt like a failure, but so did I. I went to his fortress in the forest, it was the coolest treehouse ever. I would bring friends back there next year and we would smoke grass and drink beer and talk to him, we all called him Buddy. He had arrived at the rest stop and he just wanted meatballs and a shower every now and then.

I haven’t seen Buddy for three days and it was my job to visit his fort one morning after work.It was cold and dark, I was scared and had to use my phone as a flashlight. As I approached his fortress, I heard a grunting sound. First it was uhh, uhh.. then it was uhhhh uhhhhh.

I realized Buddy was injured.I ran and found him at the lower steps of his fort. I thought he might have been drinking too much and had fallen. He said he hadn’t been drinking for days, he had eaten some dried meat that I had bought him. Buddy was very ill. I couldn’t wear it and he couldn’t walk. He was firmly convinced that the ambulance would not come because the police would get him to demolish his house. I took a few blankets from his tent and wrapped him in, promising to come back.

The only person I knew was the Ethiopian I worked for.He was a noble businessman and initially reluctant to help. He immediately told me NO! I pleaded and pleaded, cried my eyes out and then he said, “Come on, damn it,” we had to take him to the hospital together and we did.

I went to see him as many times as I could, and he called me every day.We have talked more than ever before. I loved this man, he was my family. We learned that Buddy was terminally ill and it shouldn’t take much longer. He had no insurance and the hospital sacked him to go home with a referral that Buddy couldn’t afford. I picked him up that day and he said matter-of-factly, “Well, Bea, I’m dying, I don’t know how else to tell you. But I am. I’m not one who believes in a God, but if there’s one, he’s given me the best friend I’ve ever had outside of war, and that’s you. I guess I’m going back home and meeting my daughter. Do you think she wants to see me? I always thought I had enough time to correct my mistakes, but I couldn’t. What if she hates me? “He started sobbing uncontrollably. Buddy has no idea, I corrected one of my mistakes by him a year ago when I was drinking a “211” and became his friend.

I asked him for his daughter’s name, and I was very careful to remember him.We went and got food and I checked him into a hotel room. Me and Buddy would have one last goodbye. While Buddy was showering, I searched for his daughter on my phone on Facebook. It wasn’t hard to find, I was so scared that Buddy would be rejected. I couldn’t let him run aimlessly with nothing or no one. So I wrote to the woman hoping that she was the right one. The only thing she wrote back was her phone number and in capital letters, PLEASE CALL ME NOW.

I ran outside in the cold and called her, she cried and asked to talk to her father.She explained that she misses him and loves him very much, he was not a bad father. No, in fact he was a great father and she knew his struggle. Even as a 6-year-old child, she knew it when he left, and she had always waited. How great was his empathy. I explained his health to him and that he wanted to come home. She has just begun to thank God. When I stepped in, he sat dressed on the bed and looked at Tom and Jerry, laughing hysterically.

Me: Phone Buddy.

Buddy: What for me?

Me: * shake your head with tears *

When he heard his daughter’s voice, he recognized her immediately.I collected my stuff to give them privacy. I went to the hotel lobby and booked him the next trip to Killeen, Texas, where she lived with her 4 children and was married to a military man !

I dropped him off at the bus station at 2 pm on tuesday.Haircut, brand new clothes, some cash and a positive perspective for the rest of his life. We talked for as long as we could, and after that his daughter kept me informed.

He died seven months later.I didn’t make it to his funeral, but I didn’t have to. His real name was Thomas, but he will always be my friend !!

If you’re looking for the good in people, you’re sure to find it.

Edit: I’m working on my book right now.So if you’re interested in my life or want to know more about Buddys, watch out! Unfortunately, however, I cannot answer all the comments and questions.

Buddy, was one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in my life.I’m glad I had the opportunity to befriend him.

Thank you to everyone, thank you for your kindness and thank you for giving me hope in the people!Only we can make this world a better place. Be love! Best regards to ALL!

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