In Business

In the business of making others feel good.

On our way to the plaza we passed a guy sitting along side our busiest street downtown with a cardboard  sign that said something to the effect that he was hungry. He smiled at my pups and reached out to Isabella to pet her so that she took an instant liking and settled right in to his lap. I got curious and learned his name is Kyle, he is 18 years old, local and lost his job 2 weeks ago. Instead of applying the little money he had to rent he decided to spend 100 dollars on a tent and settle up on the mountain. Already he hopes to upgrade his shelter to a bigger and better 200 dollar tent that will allow him to stand up inside it. He had not yet eaten and had hopes for pancakes on the plaza. I had to shatter his expectations and tell him that pancakes were usually served in the morning of the fourth of July, not the afternoon of the third.

Last night we had a serious storm that made me feel real grateful to have a roof over my head and solid walls to shelter me from the fury of nature. (I am familiar with lone sleepless, scary nights, out in my VW Vanagon, pummeled in severe El Nino storms that would shake and rattle my relative flimsy abode.) In fact I was wondering how all the street folks spending nights in the arroyos and along the river were coping. Should there not be a task force out checking on them? Last year we did lose someone to drowning if I remember correctly. Those mostly dry river beds can be lethal during sudden flash flooding.

Next day, July 4th, I watched Kyle devour his plate of pancakes, without non-organic strawberries though, he came down from the mountain too late for those. My pups were happy to lick his paper plate and then tear it apart. In parting he gifted me with some kinda ancient seed. Sweet kid.

Last night Kyle's tent quickly filled up with water so he tore a hole for drainage in his brand new tent. In response to my straight forward question he answered that he did not drink alcohol and did not do heavy drugs, but used to in high school. I believed him. Passing out drunk in a tent filling up with water could be a major set back, or maybe rather propeller in to another dimension. But really I am serious, how come this nice kid is begging? He said it is easy and makes people feel good about themselves. He proceeded to quote the bible, but admitted to being an atheist. On the conversation went to include Hesse's Siddhartha, a tale he seemed to love, did not find out why exactly. Does he fancy himself on a spiritual quest?

As I was standing there having a ball talking to this kid, my two pups on lead near, one lady gave a dollar to feed the dogs! Money for my dogs, what was she thinking? We laughed. I suggested a 50/50 split for the use of my pups. We laughed some more.

He hopes to participate in a local program that helps youth find employment. Already he had sent out lots of resumes, but will learn how to present himself better. Said he would rather work then not. He mentioned the economy and sounded rather glum. This coming from an 18 year old kid!

The conversation took a turn to food, where to get it free, he seemed not very cognizant on the local scene (I had helped in the kitchen of one of our local shelters.) From him I learned that $4 are better spent on a fresh burrito from Whole Foods then one from Trader Joe's! Further he suggested to not adding blueberries to a pancake batter, but only later when frying in the pan. Life lessons come to us in the strangest and most unexpectet places, don't they.

Figuring the kid was hungry for real, I broke my own not very rigid rules, and gave him a bit of cash. I do not believe in begging and supporting beggars in general. I told him so. He has no problem with that, but says he is happy with making those that give feel a little bit better about themselves! We parted with a handshake, well wishes and exchange of names.

July 4th, the next day,  he happened to join us around the fountain near the plaza with his plate of pancakes, finally, without the non-organic huge strawberries, as by that time they had run out. My two pups got to lick his paper plate clean and then tear it apart. Before leaving he gifted me with a pod of sorts, nice kid.

July 28th: The kid has now an 8 week old puppy, cute, with some less then wholesome habits he is working on. We ran in to them on the plaza, me and my Isabella-girl just as we were leaving. I took the chance to thank him for sharing with me his tips on how to make good blueberry pancakes, they worked. We never know where our lessons come from, do we!

September 3rd: I happened to come upon Kyle and learned that his puppy got hit by a car and he did not have the money to save him. He still has no home, even though it is getting colder, close to freezing. He thinks of heading out to California by bus. He looked sadly hunched over. I wished him well.


  1. Sad to think that a perfectly healthy and apparently normal kid is living off handouts because he can't find a job. Where are his parents, family, friends, support network? Perhaps this is simply an adventure for him.

  2. I am sure it is an adventure for him. Begging to him may also lack the social stigma that others may attach. Remember he is in the business of making others feel good by giving to him! The fact though remains, he would rather work then not. So let's hope the program later on this month will give him the tools to find a good enough job, maybe even career. Thanks you so much for commenting, I really appreciate an exchange.

  3. thanks for great informations It's a wonderful