I saw the saddest thing I have ever seen yesterday while I was driving. I saw this guy named Eric, that used to work with me at the Froot. He was on a street corner, holding a little sign and begging for money. The dude had everything any mortal could wish for. A nice house, a nice wife, kids, a nice job, a nice car, etc. but then, he started up with the drugs. Actually, first, it was drinking a lot, then drugs. When I worked at the Froot, one of my helpers and I once found him trying to break into an equipment closet. He was trying to steal some computers so he could sell them I guess. Then, his wife left him, his attendance fell off, and eventually he got fired and sort of fell off the face of the earth. None of the people in my circles of friends that knew him ever talked about him, no one knew anything about him anymore.
A year ago or so, someone told me that they’d seen him at a day labor temp agency and that he looked awful. They talked to him and he told them that he was living with his mom out in Bastrop. His mom had apparently given him an ultimatum: “Find a job or get out.” That was the last I’d heard of him, until yesterday.
There he was, at the corner of South Pleasant Valley and Riverside with a little sign, begging for money. I looked at him, then looked away. He looked crack head skinny, with ratty gray pants and a wife beater that looked gray, but at one point it could’ve been white. As luck would have it, I drove by that intersection 4 times in the next hour. The last time I drove by there, he was slouched over asleep on the bench at the bus stop.
I wonder if he ever wakes up and wonders “what the hell happened?” then, not being able to deal with it he goes off and gets high. I wonder what happened that he ended up there. Seeing him there, means that potentially any one of us, given the correct set of circumstances, could end up on a corner begging for money. I thought about offering him some money to wash my car. I thought about taking him to a shelter, or to a rehab clinic. I thought about helping him somehow, but then, the little republican in me said “he needs to help himself”. So I looked away, and left him passed out on the bench at the bus stop.