On the way to my office this morning (Dec. 21), I saw this interesting person in front of the bike shop on main street looking in the front window. He was wearing a top hat like a snowman! Perhaps it was the spirit of Christmas and his snowman appearance that got to me, I’m not sure, but I stopped so I could talk to him. The individual’s name was Michael and said he had walked from Boise, Idaho. He said he loves the outdoors, loves to travel and every year he makes his long journey from Boise to El Centro. He said he has no family here and doesn’t know anyone in the Valley. He did say he loves our weather at Christmas time!
I asked Michael if he had any money for a cup of coffee or any food. He told me no, but said he was waiting on a check from the government which should arrive any day. He gave me the impression that he was just happy to be alive, traveling and in Imperial Valley at Christmas time. He said he gets by with what he can carry on his back, and is happy with what little money he does get from the government. He also said that living on the street doesn’t really require much of anything and when he is broke and hungry The Salvation Army, missions and sometimes churches help feed him. I asked him if I could take his picture, simply because I wanted to share his story with my wife and son. Surprisingly, he said yes! After I snapped his picture he wished me a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. He asked me for nothing and simply wanted me to have a nice Christmas.
Unlike my wife, I never give money to street people, nor do I stop and talk with them, not ever! I do however sometimes drive through a hamburger stand and buy someone a meal if they look hungry. In Michael’s case I did give him some money, enough to feed him for a few days. Hopefully until his check arrives. I guess the way he acted, his politeness and the simple fact that he wished me a “Merry Christmas” somehow got to me. Perhaps we all need someone like Michael to just briefly drift through our life so we can understand the true meaning of Christmas; he certainly did! I must admit my short visit with Michael made me feel better than opening a gift on Christmas morning!
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