In honor of Richard Armitage’s birthday, I made a donation to Cybersmiles Foundation, but because I believe in acting locally, I also pledged to give to Michael, a homeless man who lives near my school. The first part was easy, the second, more difficult because Michael isn’t always at his usual corner.
A bit about Michael. He is a regular near the cemetery on Las Vegas Boulevard North. There are lots of homeless people camping on the edges of this particular cemetery, but Michael is the one I have come to know the best. He looks like he is in his thirties, but he may be younger because life on the streets ages people. He is a rangy man with wild sandy brown hair. I believe he has mental health issues. When he is lucid, he is normal and when he is not, he stalks that corner having furious conversations with the voices in his head. I wish I were equipped to do more to help him (well, all of them actually), but I don’t have the skills or resources. I do what I can.
Yesterday after work, I was in luck. The light was red, the tailgater behind me had to cool his heels, and Michael was just walking up to the corner on the other side of the street. I waved him over I handed him the 45 dollars (Sorry, Richard. I just feel weird about handing someone $44.44. Digging out four pennies at a stop light just isn’t going to happen. I’ll call that extra .66 cents a down payment on another year of excellent performances from you). Michael looked at it in disbelief and smiled. As he walked back to the other side of the street, he threw down the paper sign he carried and did a fist pump in the air. Have you seen the movie “The Breakfast Club”? If you have, you know the moment. That made me smile.