Friday, December 30, 2016


The other night I ran into a boy who was trying to get warm inside Rite-Aid. He was sitting in the waiting room inside the pharmacy near the blood pressure machine, eating a bag of chips. I was standing there reading a label on the back of a jar of cream. My back was to him, but he spoke to me: "It's pretty cold tonight," he said. I turned slightly to look at him. He told me he would be sleeping outside tonight. "I'm homeless," he told me. He seemed embarrassed. Then I realized I was wearing a USMC Marine Corps hat that a Marine (Shon Olson) had given me from the "Big Red Challenge." No wonder I was getting so much respect that night! So this kid almost saluted me. Anyway, this boy didn't "look" homeless; he looked like a bright-eyed teenager wearing a football jacket, eating potato chips. He was part Hispanic and spoke English. I told him to get to the shelter. He said the shelter closed at 3 PM and they had no beds left.

Apparently there is only one shelter in the entire Antelope Valley and it only has 37 beds. It gets down to 20 degrees here now, and there is snow on the mountains. I looked at him, looked in his eyes and saw that he didn't appear to be on drugs, didn't have "meth-face," and looked pretty clear-eyed. He must have been starving; he sure was devouring those chips. He told me he was looking for a job, and got "jumped" and tried to go to ER so he could sleep in the waiting room, but they kicked him out. He kept pointing to splatters of blood on his sleeve, but it looked like coffee. He seemed desperate for someone to let hm just sleep inside. I had an intuition that I must help him -- at least give him enough to get a motel room, maybe Motel 6. I had cash on me -- my son had given me money for Christmas to get my data recovered from the crashed hard drive. So I went to the pharmacist cashier and broke a $100 dollar bill. The cashier, Linda, an African American woman told me that she felt so sorry for the kid. She had bought him that bag of chips. When I told her I was going to give him enough to eat and find a room, she got tears in her eyes and said "God Bless you." I went over to him and handed him enough to cover his expenses and hopefully get a room for the night. (Not sure you can get a room without a credit card deposit though.) I ended up giving him almost the entire amount so he could really eat a decent meal too. He was so grateful he hugged me and then told me he was going to join the Marines. (I am hoping to encourage anyone who reads this, to please help anyone you can when the spirit moves you. I don't always give to the homeless on the street but there are times you do what you can.) Last night i went back to that pharmacy to pick up Mom's prescription and spoke to Linda again. I asked if she had seen the boy again. She said "No, but did you see the woman crying outside the store, face down on the pavement? The hospital had dropped her off here and she was sobbing, didn't know how to get home to Mojave." I had not seen the woman; maybe she got a ride to Mojave. I just hope she wasn't picked up by someone who would take advantage of her. Linda told me her heart breaks for people and that her dream is to open a homeless shelter. I got chills, because I always wanted to open one too - a "Loving Home" for people who are in dire straits. Women on the street are especially vulnerable to being raped and abused. We are going to have lunch and discuss it. Linda had once been homeless too, and someone gave her a chance. Maybe we'll call our shelter 'TLC House of Hope" or as Rob Deutchman said "Hope House." 

Please donate to a shelter like this: