When the shop was still operating we always had people come by to check out the dumpster for metal scraps. Normally this occurred after hours. It seemed there has been an increase of this activity.
I was always the first to arrive since I liked a cup of fresh coffee, and some quiet time before the normal routine started. That was how I met Mark. Skinny guy, unkempt beard, just wearing a beat up pair of shorts, and tennis shoes. He was pushing a shopping cart with two garbage cans, and a variety of buckets strapped to it. The amazing part was the broom and shovel. When he completed his chip removal from the dumpster he swept up any that fell to the ground. His haul was separated by material, and size.
Talking to him showed he was intelligent, hardworking, proud, and polite. I know he would have made some-one a very good employee. I told him I would save all our chips, and scrap in garbage cans in the shop, and he was to come in each day and get them. When he did I had him sweep up around the machines and gave him $20.00. He said the chips were enough and the money was not necessary.
I asked him one day if he lived close by, and he replied that he was homeless and lived in the woods. I had a tent stored from camping years ago, and asked if he would like to have it.
He told me a couple of days later how nice it was to have a place to sleep that did not leak. We are in the rainy season here in Florida and it rains every day. Sometimes very hard.
After the auction was over and the shop cleaned out Mark came by to thank me for the scrap I had saved for him. That's when I had an idea. The building is in foreclosure, and I have no idea what or when something will happen to it. The water has been shut off since mid February. Everything sold at auction including the air condition system. I know how hot that cement building gets in the Summer without air as I endured the heat for three years before I could afford it.
I told Mark he could have the use of my unit until somebody made him leave. I bought him a box fan, and an electric fry pan, groceries, and 20 gallons of water in the one gallon size. I told him that the electric will still be on for at least 6 months. I know the cost and paid at least that amount in advance. I still have the company name, and mail so that will not be a problem.
The toilet works, as long has you fill the tank. At least he can have a dry safe place to stay for awhile.
It breaks my heart to see one American person homeless. If each of us would just help one person in what ever way possible to make their life a little easier?
He never asked for charity, worked every day, and only asked for something I threw away. To the best of my knowledge he does not drink,smoke, nor stand on a street corner begging with a cardboard sign.
But for the grace of God go I.