My door bell rang, at an unusual time and not expecting anyone I peered through the curtain and then the peep hole of my front door. I saw no car….great, a walking salesman! another of those…i wonder what he wants?! I said hello through closed doors and he said “yes, hello ma’am. Sorry to bother you but i work with ‘X’ company- here is my badge and i wanted to demonstrate a product to remove rust.” I noticed he was properly dressed and quickly googled the company. Noticing it was legit AND my neighbors were outdoor, I opened the door. He was about to walk off, perhaps thinking I wouldn’t infact open.
He then turned around, started telling me about his product, demonstrating and then without me asking, told me the story of his homelessness. “I was from Atlanta, into a lot of drugs, no family and i am homeless.” I’m sorry to hear, I chided, but I’m glad you’re not into that anymore and making good choices..”Thank you ma’am” and then he continued,”one night in Atlanta i got robbed and the only thing I had on me: my drivers license and social security cards were stolen. Then I was in the shelter. One day this company that sells ‘X’ products came and offered to help us get work…but we had to move to Mississippi so I went…moved to the shelter there and we would go out and sell things on commission for them.now they brought us here ..we move from shelter to shelter in different cities with this company.” He handed me a company flyer which showed that one of their goals was to help inner city youth so I knew his story was true.
Then he tugged his tie, “this here..I don’t need to wear it but i like to wear it because one day I want a job where I can wear this to work everyday. When I get money I can buy some more from the store at the shelter.” Hold on one second I said, and ran to the overflowing racks of ties hanging in my husbands closet. I grabbed half a dozen and returned to give him. I’ve never seen anyone light up as much as he did.
I gave him a couple of bottles of water and a bag with snacks and he went his way. He thanked me profusely but here’s the thing: my chance encounter with him was probably more worth while to me than it was to him..
Here are 3 lessons I learnt:
1) It is human nature to want to achieve greatness or to make something of ourselves. To be devoid of that passion is to have lost a part of who we are.
2) All big dreams start small. They are a culmination of little steps that you have to be willing to work through!
3) We are never too small to make a difference. This homeless salesman gave me a reality check and the unknowing lesson of gratitude. He was grateful for a shelter to return to..”At least i get food there and I don’t sleep on the street” he said with as much optimism as he could muster.
I left to take my kids to their extra-curricular activities and returned home some hours later to see him being picked up by the company van in front of my subdivision, he was carrying his shoes in his hands, feet worn and tired i suspect from walking for hours and I said a prayer that this young man, not older than 20, finds his way and is one day able to realize his dreams.
PS. If you ever have the chance to listen to someone’s story , please listen and don’t negate their circumstance or assume they don’t want better. They too have feelings and maybe, just maybe they might be the person we need to stumble upon to remind us to be grateful for our circumstances.