My new acquaintance has beautiful silver hair and blue eyes. One thing she doesn’t have is a home.I first became aware of her when I was waiting for one of the six courtesy buses that service the community to take me home after a mini shopping spree.The six buses meet on the half hour at an entrance outside the local mall after driving their respective routes There is a ten to fifteen minute wait before they depart again. This gives passengers time to hop on one of the other buses to reach their destination. This also gives the bus drivers a chance to stretch their legs and kibbutz with each other.
At this particular time on this particular day the drivers were laughing and looking toward the two benches where passengers wait for the buses to arrive.I heard remarks in between their snickers such as “ maybe today you will be the lucky one and she will ride on your bus” and ‘’Where do you think she came from? Probably Jail” I walked over to sit down. One bench was crowded with a couple adults and a few kids. The mother motioned for me to sit down and said her son could sit on her knee. she gave me a knowing look as she glanced over at the other bench where a slight older woman was crowded into the corner of the bench. Her belongings were beside her on the ground. Nobody else was sitting there. I declined the offer of the mother on the first bench and sat down, beside the older lady. She appeared to be clean and well groomed.She was sitting with her head down and her eyes closed. She looked frail.I didn’t know if she was asleep or sick. I asked her if she was okay. She gave me the most delightful smile. she said she thought she was fine and that she was anxious to go to DSW for a special pair of shoes that she needed because of a foot injury . I wished her luck and asked if it would be okay if I gave her a few dollars. Once again she flashed me her beautiful smile and thanked me.
I thought about her that night. It was cold and it was rainy.I was hoping she had a place to sleep other then the bench. The next morning I had to return one of my purchases. sure enough she was sitting there wrapped in a smart looking warm sweater. I asked if she had a place to sleep at night. She said yes but didn’t elaborate. I asked if she was able to get her shoes. She said she wasn’t. We chatted for quite a while. She told me that she had just spent three weeks in the hospital for a lung condition and a heart condition. When she was discharged she attempted to get in to her rented apartment. Someone else was inhabiting it. According to her the squatter refused to leave. Proper eviction procedures to remove a person must be followed. Unclear laws make the procedure difficult.
I don’t know if her story is the whole truth. but it doesn’t matter. Homeless people have feelings too. They should be treated with respect and kindness. Any one of us or a member of our family could find ourselves in this horrendous situation.