We have all these marvelous mechanisms for keeping in touch with people. Telephones. Email. Facebook. Twitter.
Even homeless people are able to take advantage of some of these. We have homeless people making cell phone calls, texting friends, using the public library for email. I think it’s been the biggest change in my 15 years at Nightwatch. I even have some homeless people who are my Facebook friends.
But, nothing can replace being face-to-face.
I was standing in line at the beginning of the night at Nightwatch last week. I stood along-side homeless people. Some looked me in the face and smiled, others acknowledged my presence by yielding their place in line, thinking I was simply waiting to get food with everyone else.
One homeless guy seemed ready to talk. “This is my last week here,” he told me. He had saved his money working in Alaska, had a job lined up in Hawaii at a four-star hotel. Being homeless for a few weeks in Seattle was nothing more than a stop along the way. He had a plan, he had a direction, he had hope. And he knew that someone at Nightwatch was there to cheer him onward.
Labels: Friendship homelessness