Encounter with Homeless Couple: A Sad Reflective Experience

shadow couple

I came to work today around 6 a.m. and found a very young couple — maybe in their teens — still sleeping outside in a little cove up at the top of the stairway that leads to the back door of my office.

They had a sleeping bag and appeared very comfortable with a few bags of their personal belongings. I had seen them before on the streets. They have always been very polite and always have a complement about my car or my suit.

His voice and his smile reminds me of my little boy and maybe that influenced what happened today. I let them sleep for another 30-40 minutes and then decided to play music to wake them up. I then opened the door and told him that they could not be there. For those of you wondering, yes I do pack! They apologized and said they were leaving right away and that they would not come back.

As I reflected for a moment it saddened me as I wondered about the reasons for their misfortune. What I did notice, is that they did not seem bitter or upset at me and had a smile on the face as if making the best of the situation.

The young man told me “you must be very smart”. I responded “no smarter then you my friend”. I said, “I’m here in part because of choices I made”.

But am I really? Make no mistake about it, I am here in large part because I was lucky to have good parents and a lot of it was being in the right place at the right time, so yes, I was lucky.

They were both very appreciative, and I asked them to try to make the right choices. I reminded them that they were both very young. I don’t think my advice will go very far, but who knows?

Despite living on the streets there was a certain maturity to both of them that I was able to appreciate right away. I gave him $40 and told him that it would not happen again. The young man told me, “Don’t worry I wouldn’t accept it again, and I’ll just take 20”. I insisted on the 40.

I guess the reason for sharing this is that yes, I am a solid conservative and not a bleeding heart. I do help when I can, but I use my judgment.

As far as our government, what do they know when they’re only dealing with applications and many times false claims and false documents?

Anyway, this is not about politics, but about sharing a touching and sad, but reflective experience.

dr. corondao with croppedRobert Coronado is the president and CEO of the Northern Heart and Vascular Institute in Redding. He studied Internal Medicine at The University of Arizona

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