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Tory

“Do you have any spare change?”

“I don’t but can I give you this bag? It’s a scarf, a hat, gloves, you aren’t wearing gloves, socks, other things.”

(nodding quickly) “yeah”

"I’m Lorae. What’s your name? What’s your story?"

“I’m Tory, and I’m just a homeless man.”

"How did you get here?"

“I was in jail, and they let me out.”

I sat down on the ground with Tory as he put on the hat, and I opened the gloves and asked if he would put them on. Then he told me he needed boots.

“I don’t have any boots right now, but there are two pairs of socks in there”

In the brisk weather of that day, his beaming face warmed my heart and entire body.
I told him that there were two pairs and that he could double up. He said “Okay I’m going to go into the alley way so I can put these on. Thank you.”

He left and I can surely say that someone hurrying to leave me never felt as good as it did in that moment. I saw Tory about thirty minutes later and he pulled up his pants legs to show me his socks. 

 

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Belo

“Hey can I get one? Y’all giving out presents?”

This is how I first met Belo, he approached me under the subway at 16th and Market. To be honest, I had to check my prejudice immediately because at first glance I would not have known what he was experiencing. This young man had on stylish glasses, jeans, boots, a sweatshirt and a denim jacket and was carrying a book bag; he looked very nice (not even just okay…he looked nice). I gave him the bag and said “yes you can if you need it”, and told him what was in it. He said “there’s a lot more people upstairs if you need people to give stuff to; they are all right near the elevator”.

Then I asked him his story.

“My name is Belo, B-E-L-O. I am 23 years old and I don’t have a home. Most people wouldn’t know by looking at me. I’ve been told I’m the cleanest looking homeless person people have ever seen. My parents taught me that. I moved here from the islands, and I was homeless for a while as a child.”

“It’s really nice that you’re doing this for your birthday. Most people don’t do that.”

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James

"What’s your story? Who is James?"

"Well I was a truck driver. I’m a mechanic by trade. I got into an accident in ’95 and they left me for dead. I was doing good up until then and up until about a year ago; then I lost my id. Then one of those guy, that they find people’s id and try to get checks in different people’s names. Then he went down to Winston, North Carolina and tried to get a check in my name with my id, but he got caught this time. But he messed me up in the process because Social Security won’t pay if you got a warrant. And they got a warrant for my arrest so.... " 

 

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