A couple of months ago while enjoying beautiful union square in NYC I saw first then met a homeless paraplegic in a beaten up chair held together with duct tape it didn’t even have foot plates so his feet dragged along till they were twisted it was the best he could do. We chatted for a few minutes and I told him if he wanted I could help but he rolled away.
The next day I was in Manhattan early, very early and was having breakfast at the bean on the corner of 12th and Broadway my table positioned me so I was looking over at the side wall of the strand books and there was my new friend asleep in a sleeping bag that had seen better days and beside him was the beaten up collapsible chair folded against the wall.
The thought of being truly homeless sleeping against a wall without the ability to walk feel below the waist or run if I was threatened frightened the hell out of me,I now knew why my friend never smiled and always was scanning his environment for threats.
I decided that day that if he was open to it I would get him whatever help he needed, I found him that day and told him about CIDNY.org and the help they could provide and showed where their offices were and then I called the amazing Margi Tripani and she assured me whenever he arrived no matter what they were doing he would be seen.
Well it took about a week to convince him the help was real but yesterday as I arrived to go to breakfast I saw him arising from the spot on the wall, and he pointed to the door to CIDNY’S building and he yelled “that’s where they are right? They open at 9 am?” yes I said do you want me to come with you? No he said I’m good like the previous week I was hopeful but not quite sure of his resolve.
Later in the afternoon about 2.30 pm I saw him being pushed across the square as I chatted with my Hare Krishna friends, he was beaming with the first smile I had ever seen on his face he started to talk and cry at the same time” I’m getting a home I am getting a roof of my own I just left CIDNY I was there all morning they are getting me a real chair my feet wont drag anymore. I’ll have an address so they have got my benefits reinstated, and this is just the start thank you so much thank you I have doctor’s appointments and shopping for clothes new clothes my clothes.
I cried a little he was thanking me thanking the universe thanking anyone who would listen, at that money I understood joy It had been missing in a big way from my life for a long time, he asked how can I every repay you I replied you just did but when you get your own place and a new chair if you see someone else in need you know Margi you know what she can do just pay it forward just pay it forward that’s what all of us should do.
His journey isn’t over it’s just begun but the smile is back and I suspect he might just have started to trust the world a little, and that if for no other reason is why I help whenever I can have you payed your joy forward today?