I stop at the diner on the way home tonight to see an older homeless man come in from the cold and politely get kicked out. Seeing the blanket wrapped around his frigid body he walked out the door. I tried to pay as fast as I could and reach him before he took off.

I did not see where he went. I got in my car and went looking for him. After about 15 minutes of driving around the main streets I finally saw him walking down the road.  I stopped the car, grabbed my gloves and hat and gave them to him.  

I got him in my car for some warmth. He was freezing. We drove to a McDonalds and I got him a burger and some coffee. We drove around some more and talked.

An ex-Vietnam vet, he told me after the war he taught music.   We drove around for about a half an hour to get him warm.  He wanted to be dropped off the greyhound station.  I asked if I could get him to a shelter, but he said no.   He wanted a sleeping bag, I could not get him one.

He talked about wanting to go to New Orleans, or Philadelphia.  I dropped him off at the bus station. At least some police officers there would be able to help from there.  Hopefully they would arrest him so he might be able to find someplace warm tonight.

I gave him the few dollars I had in my wallet and all the change I had in my door armrest that had piled up over the last few weeks.  After all that I still wonder why I feel poorly.  

I beg of everyone bring extra gloves, hats with you in your car. Buy a coat from a thrift shop and or bring an old one from home.

Please if you see someone that needs help, please do.   It's too damn cold outside, Please help them.

Joe, wherever you are tonight, I'm thinking of you. I wish I could have done more.

 

Mark Poyner
Tinton Falls, NJ