By Tatian Greenleaf On Saturday, I started cooking 200 eggrolls at 9 p.m. planned to drop them off at the soup kitchen that would serve the homeless on Skid Row the next Friday. I finished , tired, at 3 a.m. I then drove to Von's to buy some aluminum foil trays to hold the eggrolls. When I got to the supennarket, it was dark and wet outside from the recent rain s. I saw a homeless man in a wheelchair by the front door and figured I'd give him a buck.
I parked about 100 feet from the entrance and opened my car door. As I got out, I heard the man yell, "IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU SHOWED UP!" Fear struck me. I walked towards the front door trying to remain firm and calm. When I got about 15 feet from the man, I said "Hi" as friendly as I could (considering my fear). He changed tone s lightly and asked if I could help him out. I dug for $2 and handed it to him. He said thank you and added "But I 'm trying to get a room." I offered to buy him some food from Von's . He answered, "Some fruit" and nodded. I told him I would get some fruit, "Maybe some oranges and bananas" and be back in 10 minutes. He thanked me and I walked into Von's.
In side, I headed for the oranges, selected three, and then made my way to the bakery section. I picked up some blueberry muffins and then some string cheese - a balanced meal of sorts. I thought about water or another cold drink, but figured it was cold enough outside. I wished I could bring him some coffee, but I couldn't. As I turned to head to the cashier, I saw the man wheeling his way around the bakery. I approached him, smiled, and held up the blueberry muffins for his inspection. He said, "Nah, I was hoping for some cheesecake." We looked together but couldn't find any. I told him I could get him the muffins, but he said that was okay and that he would just Iike some oranges, some bananas and some grapes. We looked at fruit together and he picked out some grapes, holding the plastic bag open for me to drop them in. He said he was very thankful and introduced himself as "Willie." I shook hands and told him my name. Then he wheeled to the back of the store and I went up front to pay for the food and trays.
When I walked outside, he was by the front door again. I said, "Here you go, Willie" and handed him the bag of fruit. He said, "God bless you." I replied, "God bless you too ." And he said, "He just did." We wished each other a good day and good night shook hands and then I walked to my car with a sense of humbleness and a little sadness, but with a smile on my face.
Talian Greenleaf is from Costa Mesa, California.