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Jan 2, 2014

A PARKING LOT ENCOUNTER

There is a young man in our small town who is not coherent most of the time. He sits outside of either the 7-11 or a local Shoppers Drug Mart store.

He mumbles. He rants. He curses. He scares most people.

He may or may not have a drug problem. I don’t know. He appears to be more schizophrenic then drugged. mental-illness-not-contagious

I have given him money. Not a lot. A buck or two. I give it with the understanding that what he does with it is his business. I know of someone who asked him once if he wanted to go to Subway for a sandwich. He said yes and then walked a completely different route than my friend to get to the restaurant and took his sandwich and left.

The second time I gave him money I introduced myself and asked him his name. He said it was D.C. Just initials. No name.

All he ever says is thanks…. until today.

I got to work in the same complex as the 7-11 he sits in front of at 7:15 this morning. Parked my car and walked to the sidewalk to get the company mail from the mailbox.

As I walked back to my car to grab my purse, coffee mug and lunch bag D.C. started yelling from across the lot.

“Hey, hey” he yelled as he came toward me. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Hey”

“Happy New year D.C.” I said. “How are you?”

“Good, Happy New Year”

I am not sure what else he said but it was a civil conversation and I joked about being old and managing to stay up until 2:00 am. He laughed a little.
“Well I have to go to work or I will be late. Take care D.C.”

“Okay, bye”

By the time I got to the door of my work he was back over by the 7-11 and he was again pacing back and forth loudly ranting about something.

I don’t even know what to think about this exchange. I have never heard of him harming anyone. Did he just have a moment of lucidity and recognized me? Did he recognize me? I have never seen him approach anyone before. He is always eyes down.

My heart is sad when I see such lost soul. Mental illness is a brutal thing whether it is organic or brought on by drug use. Again I don’t know his situation but because his routine is so set I don’t think it is drugs.

So many people refuse help that they desperately need. And for many others the help they need is not available.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

7 comments:

Jackie said...

You have a tender heart.
I am going to pray every evening for D. C. Thank you for sharing.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Wow - that's an amazing story. You just never know how a simple act of kindness will affect someone. You have a good heart.

karen Keizer said...

I too have meet this man, sitting outside of Shoppers. It was so cold out so I bought him a couple pairs of socks and a chocolate bar. He took the chocolate bar but insisted I return the socks. He liked his feet bare inside his shoes. It must of been -2. I wonder what his story is; he is still so young, only 24. You want to help; help make his life easier....to be able to do something...so sad

Peg said...

It is so sad to think of all the people who 'fall through the cracks' and don't get the help they need. Good for you being this man's 'friend' if even just for a moment.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Hopefully some type of peace or resolution. Bless you...Mary

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

My heart breaks from this post - and rejoices. My husband works with developmentally delayed adults - and also mentally ill adults - and often they have dual diagnoses. He is one of the good people - a really kind soul who loves his people beyond belief. He cares deeply what happens to each one, and does all he can to help them, when help is needed/wanted/available - and watches helplessly when his people don't want help, or can't, for whatever reason in their minds, accept help.

He says you do what you can, when you can - and that often makes all the difference to his people. He expects a lot from his people - and in doing so he encourages them to be the best they can be - often with surprising results, yet he is gentle in his approach to encouraging them to advance when possible, in their skills or their social activities. He believes that each one can do so much for themselves and with his help they often do it - and are rewarded with self satisfaction.

When he deals with someone like D.C. he meets them where they are, mentally and physically and emotionally and does whatever they will accept from him - without pushing - I think your treatment and understanding of D.C. is exceptional - sometimes all any of us need is a good chocolate bar - sometimes we need more.

This post is one of the most important that I've ever read in blogland. Thank you!

Sue said...

You obviously made an impression on this young man, Lori- even if it was for only a short, lucid moment. I really DO believe he recognized you for your previous kindness. I hope he gets some type of assistance if that is indeed what he wants or needs. Happy New Year to you, my friend! xoxo Ethel aka Sue

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