A Christmas Story
Ever been wrongly influenced by appearances?
Christmas Eve 2015, 19:00uur walking across the Schouwbergplein in the centre of Rotterdam, cold, dark, a little wet and slippery from the rain earlier in the day but I was full of Christmas spirit. A drenched and lost figure comes up to me and asks if I would like to buy two newspapers for the homeless? “Why two?” I asked suspiciously. “Because two means that I have enough money to spend tonight and Christmas day in the centre for the homeless” the forlorn figure said.
He went on “it is warm there, I can enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner and watch some movies. For one day I am not alone.”
My first reaction when this man approached me was “fright”. He looked fierce and threatening. While talking to him I realised that he was not fierce or threatening, it was just the way he was living that gave him this appearance. For the first time it also dawned on me that homeless people like to spend Christmas in company just like other peeps.
I gave the chap the money for two papers but did not take the papers.
Two days later, a man came running up to me. I hardly recognized him but for sure it was the same man. ” Hi ” he said. ” Thanks for the help, I had a really nice time at the refuge. I also managed to sell the other two papers so that meant I could stay for two nights. I had a wash & shave and feel a lot better now. Thanks, I wish you lots of luck.”
I walk regularly in the same place but have not seen the man since, I hope he is doing well.