With Veterans Day having just past, I thought I would share an experience I had with a vet I met earlier this year –
In April, I was walking downtown near Harold Square towards Chinatown. I noticed a man sitting in an alcove with a cardboard sign saying something like “lost my job, need work boots for a job I was hired for next week, veteran, god bless.” After thinking about it for a minute, I went up to him and asked him if he really just needed boots for a job. He said yes, and then began to tell his stories of woe – bad luck, a bad woman, got mugged, no money… I asked him what war he fought in and he said “Bosnia, ‘94 to ‘97”, and then told me a bunch of stories about his time in the service. Unlike some of the other stuff he said, I could tell he wasn’t making anything up with these stories. I enjoyed talking and listening to him.
Then it got really surprising… I asked him where he was from and he said Philly. I lived in Philly for 10+ years, so I was surprised and asked him where and when. It turns out that he lived a block away from me in Fishtown on Frankford Ave. in 2008 when I lived there. Crazy right?! He knew people and places that I knew. He even knew a brother of one of my teachers. We talked about Philly and all the changes that have happened there in the past few years. We talked for a while longer, I gave him a few bucks and kept walking. I would never have thought that I had any connection to this guy on the street, but we had a ton of connections and talked for almost 40 minutes. You really never know. What a small world.
I hope he got his boots.
Thanks for reading.