Monday, July 15, 2013

Helping An 81-Year-Old Blind Man

Recently, I worked at the Catholic Charities Food Resource Center. I do customer intake where I interview the client, give them menu options and help them pick out food that is bagged and given to them by someone else. So this old guy came in, helped along by one of the workers from next door where they do more advanced social work and he had one of those red and white canes reserved for the blind.

He sat down at my desk and handed me his ID. I looked him up in the system and found he was 81. Talking to him further, it turned out he had cataracts so bad that he couldn't see a thing. As it is with many of our customers, you really couldn't tell what his situation was. He said he was sort of homeless, but he didn't have that look and the life span of an 81-year-old blind guy living on the street seemed too short for him to be sitting there in front of me.

Whatever his exact lifestyle, talking to him made me want to bring him home to live with us. I didn't make the offer and instead processed him like everyone else, keeping up a cheerful patter while trying to keep from holding him and crying. He told me he had friends he stayed with from time to time and he was clean and dressed in clothes that fit, so who knows, maybe his situation wasn't all that desperate. Still, I wanted to bring him home and take care of him.

Every time I work this gig, I find someone like this. A few weeks back, it was this lovely young lady who had come in from LA to escape abuse and was living on the street until she could find a place. It was a Friday and the social services offices weren't taking any new customers, so she was going to have to live on the streets until Monday. I pondered giving her a bed in our house for the weekend, but you couldn't tell if she was a druggy or what. Instead, I just did my job.

The more I do this, the more I come to believe that paradise is achievable. There are more of us* - successful people who could help one individual - than there are of them. If everyone who could do so stepped up and adopted one of these unfortunates, we'd have the place cleaned up in no time.

Good Samaritanesque individual action, taken in large numbers, could make a big difference.
* - Well, there should be more of us than there are of them. That's one of the great tragedies of abandoning traditional morality and the traditional family. Kids from wrecked, libertine neighborhoods aren't going to be able to help anyone and instead will only add to the number of people who need assistance.

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