Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday "Help Wanted"

Last Sunday I came back to Kansas City after a week long vacation back home. It was filled with adventure, if you call a short sorjourn to Omaha an adventure, before we finally touched down on mid-western soil. I had chatted with an Army guy for the flight and was sad to wave goodbye as my wonderful (and patient) ride walked with me out of the airport.

We made it just in time for church to hear the words that have been popping up in my head all week. "As a Christian do we have room to complain about our life?" Interesting thought, hmm? I can't count the number of times I've complained about having to ride the bus when all I want is a quart of milk from the grocery store. Or when they took away my favorite bus stop which means my one hour comute to the zoo is now a two hour one.

No, I really should have nothing to complain about and yesterday I almost forgot about this....

I usually have a ride to and from work Monday through Thursday but because my wonderful friend has a second job she can't give me a ride home on Friday. I have no real complaint about this since I know the route and it involves no real crunch for time.

On route the bus picks up one of the men from the street. The guys who stand on the corner holding up the signs that say "Please help me" or "I'm homeless -- Please Help" and they collect money from do-gooders and people with spare change. It is a lucrative business I hear where people are either getting scammed or actually helping someone in need. I guess it doesn't matter since the person giving is doing so with good intentions...even if that money isn't going where it is believed it is going...

He gets on the bus and sits two or three seats in front of me. I'm busy looking out the window, minding my own buisiness and trying not to make eyecontact (since he certainly is trying to) when he says, "Never been to the zoo before. Thinking about going. How much does it cost?" He proceeds to count his money that he's earned while he waits for an answer. "11.50 for adults and 10.50 for seniors" I reply with a smile. I am not too sure about the senior citizen rate but I figure it's around that much and if it is less then it will be his lucky day if he qualifies! Thinking that was all he wanted to know, or at least hoping it is, I open up my trusty book and begin to read. The moment my attention is focused on something else he starts talking to me again. I look up and have to ask him to repeat himself numerous times. Finally I get out, "You work there, do you?" Since I'm wearing the bright yellow shirt with the words "Kansas City Zoo Staff" I can only smile and nodd at his question.

Back to reading and he once again tries to say something but with the loud bus and the talking people there isn't a chance in Hell I'm going to hear him again so I simply shrug and go back to reading. Then in comes the guilt. The whole, "What if he's a good person on hard times and I'm treating him like a low-life" then there is the argument of "He just wants to talk to you in hopes of playing on your pity to get something from you."

I really wish I could believe the former rather than the latter but I kept feeling his eyes on my for the duration of the ride. Each time I looked up he was staring at me. Not looking away but STARING at if he expected something from me. Officially creeped out I called my mom and left a message telling her I'd be home soon and that I loved her. I kept gender and location out so he'd think that I was going home to someone and they knew I'd be there soon. PHEW!

I hop off and he stands like he plans to follow but the driver keeps him from doing so. Safe.

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