The Old Man.
I can eat for five days, he said…
This got to me so much, here is the short version of what went down.
The other night I was out for a stroll on Jalan Dewi Sri in Bali. Take in some vibes and take in some of the nightlife. I like to people watch and this was a nice cool evening to enjoy this particular hobby.
As I turned the corner, I saw him.
In a previous blog, I mentioned that I saw this man with his bicycle across the road from my usual breakfast place and I felt I missed out on helping him. Because he was in a strange spot, he caught my eye a bit late. I went two steps past him and then turned around.
Not This Time, I Said to Myself.
I stopped and sat down beside him on the curb. I asked him where he was from and if he wanted to go get some food. He said yes but he would prefer I give him some money.
All I could think of at the time was that my missed opportunity was back from the other day. When I was going to get breakfast and I said to myself, I would catch up with him on my way back. On my way back he was gone and I was disappointed in myself. This was a way to redeem myself. I unfortunately didn’t have money on me. I had about $2.50 in my wallet and that was the other reason for me to be out. I was going to the ATM to be able to go and shop. I told the old man to wait right there, I would be back.
He is 80!
When I got back, sure enough, he was there waiting. We sat down and talked for a bit. He lived with his family; he was not completely homeless. He was missing nearly all his teeth and he was 80 years old chilling on the street.
Now don’t get me wrong, he was not a man asking for handouts. He didn’t have a hat or a cup on the ground. He was just out there watching life go by. Oddly enough he asked me how old I was before he told me he was 80. All in all, he was in good shape for his age and circumstances.
In Indonesia, one sees very few homeless people as we know homeless people. We know the homeless as the people sitting on the streets of Toronto and pushing a shopping cart with all their belongings. That is not the case here. Occasionally, one sees a “crazy” person. A person with mental health issues that the community has no idea how to take care of.
I Felt Good.
I gave the man some money and he held my hand. His hands were rough and had a strong grip. He was a laborer all his life, that is for sure. As he held my hand, I felt an overwhelming sensation of kindness, and certainly not from me to him for giving him money. The way he looked at me and the way he held my hand. Then he told me he would be able to eat for 5 days with the $10 I handed him. It felt amazing to hear those words and I walked away proud of myself. I was so happy that I got a second chance to make a tiny bit of difference in this man’s life.