overcoming average(?)

because it’s something the world just needs less of

bit of a first tonight

with one comment

wow, where to start with this one. i had a first tonight. it’s kind of funny, the older i get the less i expect a “something” to be a “first something.” although i suppose at almost 25 i have plenty of firsts left in life.

tonight i dropped off amanda at work and before she got out of the car she asked me “what are you going to do tonight?” i said, “i have no idea.” she said, “try to do something fun tonight. go to barnes and noble and read. WAIT NO. you should write something.” i immediately in my mind thought that i haven’t had anything worth writing about lately. which is why i haven’t written anything in here for a while, and why it’s been even longer since i wrote something other than “today i did ____.” i pretty much thought about that the whole way home from loma linda. usually i write because i feel like i had one of those God-given moments that kind of open your eyes to something and this is the best way i have to kind of process it. and then i put it in an online blog because i’m arrogant enough to live out the presumption that i am the first one to phrase a thought in that particular manner. either that or there’s some crazy story that should be told. i don’t feel like i’ve had any moments or stories like that lately. and as i was thinking that exact thought earlier this evening, i was pulling into the farmer boys parking lot on university on my way home. little did i know what God had in store for me.

i was walking up to the door and saw a homeless guy standing by the door. this is not an unusual thing in downtown riverside. so it wasn’t a big deal to me that he asked me for change. i have a policy about homeless folks and money giving: i’ll buy them a meal, but i typically don’t give money. so offered him and he took me up on the offer. when i was ordering the lady behind the counter looked at the guy and said something about “this is the last time sir. you’re going to have to leave after this.” apparently there was a whole backstory i came in on the end of. the homeless guy just nodded and said ok. we went to sit down to wait for the food and i asked him his name. his name is cary, and he hangs out around there pretty often i guess. about two minutes into waiting for the food, this middle aged guy comes up to the table where me and cary are sitting and says, “excuse me young man…” between that moment when he got my attention and before i looked up to meet his eyes, i was mentally preparing for a verbal pat on the back. one of those old guy/young guy moments when the old guy smiles down at the young guy and says something like “i’m just so glad to see young people caring for the poor these days. you’re a credit to your generation.” and then i would tell him about how it’s because Jesus told me he wanted to me to and both the old guy and the homeless guy would start asking questions about this Jesus fella, and then the rest of the people at the restaurant would tilt their heads towards us to listen to the exciting message being proclaimed in the farmer boys restaurant in the name of Christ. the scene would then end with everyone there making tearful confessions and conversions and then everyone would hoist me on their shoulders in celebration.

God has a sense of humor though.

much to my surprise, what followed “excuse me young man….” was this (paraphrased): “…do you realize you’re just enabling this son of a bitch to keep doing what he’s doing? i’m second generation riverside and these bastards are ruining my town. they destroyed white park with their drugs and having sex in the park; it took years to restore that place. all you’re doing is helping this tweeker loser to keep ruining my town, making cocaine peddlers in colombia rich, and destroying the economics here along with all the illegal immigrants. this bastard comes around here and is ruining this whole place.”


i responded to him very quietly despite his choice to make a scene with, “sorry man, i was just buying a guy some food.”

his response: “i know you’re just some bleeding heart. i’m a liberal democrat and that doesn’t change that this son of a bitch is a miserable excuse for a person who’s ruining my town.” he went off again for a couple more minutes. it was weird, he was going off like he knew cary personally. i’m completely dumbfounded at this point and am just trying to collect my thoughts enough to make a reasonable argument for what i’m doing without pissing this guy off more and making the scene worse. because usually i’m the one that needs to watch my mouth in a family establishment setting. seriously, everyone there could hear him and there were kids there. the best i could do was, “hey man, i’m just trying to do what God’s told me to do.”

bad idea. he came back at me first with how he’s a presbyterian and then followed it up with more of the same speech that came before. eventually he finished his rant against me and cary and went to sit back down. he wasn’t finished being pissed off though. he took his hat off and threw it on the table and then pounded his fist on the table. AND kept muttering stuff the whole time we there. for all i know he’s still going. the lady behind the counter came out after the guy left my table and said that she hoped i understood, but they were going to have to make my order to go. i had ordered to go anyway, but i think had i wanted to eat there she still would have changed it to go. i looked at cary and told him, “i’m sorry you have to hear that stuff said about you. i really am.” he just kinda shrugged it off as if to say “it happens.” me and cary both got our food and left, then i came home and ate. i’m kind of glad i didn’t say anything back to the guy, because i don’t know how much restraint i would have had.

so that was a first for me. i have never in my life gotten yelled at for buying a homeless guy some food. i’m still kind of in shock about the whole thing. like what makes someone so mad at homeless people that they take it out on homeless people and people who try to help homeless people? and how distorted is your world view that you call yourself a christian and have the nerve to yell at someone who’s feeding someone who needs it and then rant and rave so as to dehumanize someone? did he think he was going to change my mind about buying food for someone? i still can’t believe it happened. like i’m wondering if i’m gonna end up on some candid camera show in a couple months


Written by matt

March 14, 2008 at 12:31 am

One Response

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  1. that is crazy! I loved reading what you “thought” would happen when the guy tapped you on the shoulder.

    Good job representing!

    heidi thompson

    March 17, 2008 at 8:07 am

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