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Unusual Encounters

I was having lunch with a friend of mine last week, and we were talking about homelessness. He had just come from volunteering, and he said they had handed out lunches to about two hundred homeless people. We both have different views on this; however, we can definitely see each other’s points. After lunch, I was walking back to the office, and I came upon this young man in his late teens, early twenties. He was on his phone, pants down to the middle of his butt and his hat on crooked. I judged him. I did. I failed my little character test for the day.  Damn, I’m still a work in progress!

So as I passed him, he asked if I had a dollar. We continued to walk side by side, and I said, “Yes I do. I have lots of dollars.” I kept walking and he was keeping up with my pace. There was an awkward silence and he said, “Well, can I have one?” I looked at him sincerely and said, “Why should I give you a dollar?” He said it was for a meal. I told him, “Look, I was poor for a long time, and I have had to make really good choices and much sacrifice to get where I’m at today. Do you have a job?” Something clicked in him and he began to get very passionate about the fact that, although he did not have a job, he had a purpose. He told me about how he writes lyrics for the youth to encourage them to do good in the world and make a difference. I told him I was not going to give him a dollar, but that he could walk with me if he still wanted to. He did. I told him about the Elevate movement and how our purposes line up. We introduced ourselves to each other, and, with a huge smile, he said his friends call him “Sweets.” We laughed together.

He gave me his number, and I told him I might call him to shoot some hip-hop videos on our site, www.ElevateBook.com/Bonus. He said that he hopes that I do. For the record, I did. Check out the video. After our walk, I gave him ten bucks and said, “You don’t sound like someone who should be asking for money; go get some lunch.”