How do normal people end up homeless? I ask this because of an incident on Saturday. My son had a HUGE football passing tournament...all the top schools in the state come and compete. I woke up early to take him (very hard..been fighting the stomach flu), dropped him off and had an hour to kill. So I went to the store to get something to settle my stomach. As I was leaving I saw "The Edison Bum" sitting to the side of the store up in the bushes. He received his name because he went to Edison High School. He is always hanging around the field, digging through trash cans and talking to the players.
The story that was relayed to me went something like this, "That guy used to go here, he was a star football player, all-conference...could've played in college." I asked, "What happened to him?" With a bewildered look he said, "I don't know!"
Fast forward...I'm pulling out of the driveway and think, I should give him some money for breakfast. I drove past him, there it was again...I should give him money. I made a quick u-turn, and pulled up alongside the curb, rolled down my window, shouted, "Hi, here's some money for breakfast!" "Oh, thank you so much!" He walked slowly over, grinning...I handed him the money. I said, "You know, Edison is having their big passing tournament today, you should head over." "Oh, really! What time does it start?" "At 9:00 a.m. so there's plenty of time," I replied. Excitement brightened his dirt stained face, "My name is Craig, I used to play football too. I grew up here and went to Eader (elementary school), Dwyer (middle school) and then Edison. I was a pretty good football player!" His smile was contagious. My grin now mimicked his as I quickly blurted out, "Nice to meet you Craig, my name is Lisa...I heard that you were a REALLY good player!" Surprised he said, "You did!" I said "Yep, well, I have to get to the field, I will probably see you over there?" "Okay!" he shouted.
Wow, I thought, what happened to bring him to this point? He went to the same school's my kids go to, was raised in a nice neighborhood, played for a power house football school and probably had hopes and dreams just like everyone else. How did a life go so terribly wrong? What had his parents hoped he would become? He was someone's, son, brother, uncle, and friend, and he was a BUM.
About an hour into the game I got up to get something to eat and there sat Craig (The Edison Bum) sitting under the easy up. Someone had given him their chair and a bottle of water. I stopped to watch, he was talking with a dad...football talk. Pointing, laughing, cheering and booing, there he sat...a "normal" guy watching a football game. The glow on his face covering the dirt stains, brightly shining with excitement...acceptance was what he had found on this particular Saturday. The parents welcomed him in with open arms. He was treated with respect, kindness and love. Not much effort on their part...but it obviously meant the world to Craig.
What does it take to change the world? One small act of love and compassion at a time.
JULLIEN INTERCEPTING A PASS
ACTION,..EDISON WON THE TOURNAMENT!!!!!