I sat on the park bench and watched them. I’ve seen them before. In fact, I have seen them several times.
It was a father with his daughter. The daughter looked to be about five. She wore an old tattered polka-dotted shirt. The shirt was purple, with the polka dots being various other colors. She wore jeans with gaping holes in them. A couple of them were around the knees, with a tiny one in the crotch. Her socks were ratty and the shoes were little light up shoes. The lights, of course didn’t work anymore and the shoes were worn. The father wore a red polo shirt with a couple of tears in the armpits. His jeans looked like his daughter’s. Holes everywhere. Maybe a little more than hers. His socks were old with a worn pair of Nikes. It looked like the soles could give out anytime.
The homeless are often people that some ignore. This is not the case for me. When I look at the homeless, I see a displaced society. Granted, some deserve to be this way, with their addiction to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Others deserve it because they are lazy, and don’t want to do anything at all. For all the other homeless, they don’t want to be there. They lost their job, their house and everything else that they owned. The father and the daughter are this type of homeless. I know from my interactions with them.
After watching them some more, I felt sorry for them. The father was looking around, looking for food to forage for his daughter. For him, it didn’t matter that he was fed. All that mattered was that she got her food.
“I’m hungry, daddy!” I heard the daughter say.
I then heard the father. “Don’t worry, Emily. I won’t let you go hungry. I’ll find you some food today.”
At this, I saw her nod. “Okay daddy….”
I couldn’t stand it. So I did what I usually do when I see them. I get them a nice breakfast. Not just for the daughter, but both of them. I don’t have much, but I definitely have more than them. And it’s the least that I can do.
So I took them to the usual restaurant and got them whatever they wanted. They ate until they were full and satisfied.
After the meal, the father started to cry. “I appreciate it. I don’t know how I can ever repay you.”
“You don’t.” I told him. “Think of it as my gift to you.”
The daughter turned to me and smiled. “You are a nice man. Thank you for the breakfast.”
I told her “you’re welcome” and watched them leave. The father has lost his job and was desperately trying to find a new one.
As I watched the two fade out of view, I smiled. Outcasts are people, no matter what society says about them.
©2012 K. L. Walker
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