On my way riding home from work last night (on my faded pink fur bike), I passed a man passed-out on the sidewalk. He was face-down and his pants and underwear were pulled down.
I turned around and rode next to him. "How you doing, buddy?" I loudly asked.
He mumbled, but did not move.
"You need some help?"
He mumbled "'pologize."
"You want me to help you pull your pants up?"
He lifted his head slightly and looked at me.
"'pologize," he barely mumbled.
I'll be honest I was a little uneasy. He was a big guy, ass exposed, on a public sidewalk. We were about a block from the park where the bulk of the area's homeless hangout. I didn't know what to expect. Maybe he was a moment away from springing up and striking.
"I'm going to pull your pants up, okay?"
He mumbled something that I took as agreement.
I grabbed his shorts and tugged. He tried to lift his hips to help me. After a few attempts, I managed to get his underwear and shorts up so he was covered.
He stayed on his belly, lifted his head to look at me, and mumbled some more.
I wondered if I should do more. I couldn't move him. If I brought him food, all I could do would be leave it near him. I could alert the cops about him, but that hardly seemed like it would help.
I rode away. Went home. Washed my hands.
And now I'm crying.
**I wrote the above facebook update and sat, crying for a few minutes. Was I okay with how I handled that? Not really. So I put some granola bars and some money in a plastic bag and rode back to him.
There was a police car and ambulance on site. He was being rolled in to the ambulance. I told the paramedic the condition he was in when I saw him. They said he is "...about the same. But he will be alright."
I got 100+ kind comments on Facebook. Truthfully, I felt a little uncomfortable with the praise. I did very little. But if I listen to my own words - ones I spoke on stage this weekend at YOUtopia - "It is the direction that matters, not the distance." None of us can save the world. But small movements in the direction of compassion add up. It all matters.
I'm glad I went back. I feel much better about my tiny actions. So, yes...thank you. #gratitude