Gadora is a big fan of Austin’s FreeCycle! And free things in general. While en route to pick-up a second FREE item no longer deemed important to someone else—and this is the bigger story—Gadora was held up at a light. A zillion cars… myself… and one smiley homeless man with a bucket and a squidgy. Austin has MANY homeless folks. In fact on any given day, rain and shine, they are camped out at every major intersection. And, of course, camped in places not so visible.
He approached my car with a snaggle-toothed smile and motioned his squidgy to my front window. A window wiping, he pleaded? I left the house without a cent to my name, well, ok I had like 14 cents. I was rolling with 14 cents, and an empty water bottle. And truth be told, sometimes I’m half OK with a filthy car! Pathetic. He passed my car, then swiftly returned. With front windshield quickly immersed in his cleaning, I dropped my window and offered, “I’m sorry Sir, I can’t pay you. Please, don’t worry about cleaning her.”
He responded and I specifically remember, “Oh Pretty Lady, Let me DO this for you. With Austin’s f@#in’ roads, you deserve to look good. And it’s free. This is free. “
As he dragged the drying blade across my windshield, I engaged him square in the eye. We shared snippets of small talk. I could only offer appreciation and a moment of my time. A moment of banter, we could share and in this case, I got more than what I paid for.
Over dinner I gave the story to my BFF. “You gotta post that!” she encouraged. It’s way too easy to dismiss the folks at stoplights who hover around our cars for a few cents. In Austin they are a dime a dozen. This particular gentleman was indeed working hard for his money and he sent me off with a smile.
• • •
Austin folks who make a difference:
• Austin Empty Bowl ~ Works with the Capital Area Food Bank. 3,600 bowls were sold. 250 Gallons of soup was served. More than 2,000 people from Austin came out to support!
• Green Doors ~ Founded by a once-homeless young woman, creates affordable, safe, quality housing; providing residents with access to supportive services; and educating about, and advocating for, individuals and families struggling with homelessness and at-risk for homelessness.
• Keep Austin Sheltered ~ The University of Texas at Austin “Community Engagement Collaborative.”
• Mobile Loaves and Fishes ~ A social outreach ministry for the homeless and indigent working poor that provides food, clothing, and dignity to our brothers and sisters in need.
*If I’ve missed an organization that is important to you, PLEASE comment. We cannot do enough.