On Monday night we were expecting our pastor to come over for a meeting. So when my son called me from the yard saying there was a man at our door wanting to talk to me, I asked if the man was our pastor and if so to let him in. I presumed it was our pastor and went over after my son replied, ‘don’t think it’s our pastor mom.’
There stood a homeless man who immediately started begging for food and clean clothes. I stood there trying to get his story out of him but he just cried. Heck this worked on my sympathy. I told him my husband wasn’t home (stupid mistake #1) but to wait on our patio for him (stupid mistake #2). Letting a stranger into my home without thinking was not only STUPID of me but could have been a dangerous one.
After I let him in, I realized what a mistake I made. I secretly sent my hubby a message to get home fast as I had done what I had and was now feeling rather vulnerable, very uneasy and frankly a little scared. Hubby raced home. In the mean time I had made this man a cuppa coffee. I started questioning him to understand why he was in the situation he was. He explained how he had been living the streets for 20 years and how his family dis-owned him. I asked what jobs he had done and what if any, his qualifications were. He wouldn’t tell me his age but did let out that he had been out of school for 20 years. Now the more he spoke the more I realized he was lying as he contradicted himself. He was thin, yellow eyes and fidgety. I asked him if he was HIV (something considered rude to ask, but I did) He said no. Something just didn’t add up. He couldn’t give me eye contact.
Hubby arrived and not a moment too soon, I had children to bath, dinner to cook and a guest to prepare for. Hubby was polite to this man but very unimpressed. His sob stories kept changing and our emotions were moving from sympathy to annoyed. After seeing to the children, hubby and I would swap roles. This man told me he had been to all the shelters over time but was ‘asked to leave’ eventually. He said how he had been to churches for help but even then he was asked to leave and so it went on. He said how he worked as a hairdresser, a banker and in sales but all occasions was eventually ‘asked to leave’. I realised at this point the man was a drug addict.
I offered him three potential jobs from Mondays paper. #1 There was a hairdresser position. #2 There was a telesales shift work position – he refused, saying – nah, I don’t want to do that. I was gob-smacked because he wasn’t really in a position to be picky or choosy. I realised then that he had no intention of actually really wanting help or to change his circumstances. I eventually told him just that. He didn’t like the lecture that was now to follow. My hubby was inside putting our children to bed, and I used this time to give this man a burning ear.
‘What is it you actually want from us? Why are you really here? Because if it’s money you want, it is money you will not get! You are clearly a druggie and your behaviour shows it. I will give you clean newish clothes, shoes, a warm blanket and a hot plate of food which I am very sure you will go sell the clothes tomorrow to buy your next fix. Catch a wake up if you really think I feel anything for you now. You have passed up 2 potential jobs I showed you and further rejected the suggestions of other options. Your were more than likely fired from your jobs for being unreliable, high or such. And probably asked to leave home cos you started stealing from home to support your habit and likewise with the charities you stayed at. Only you know the truth. Take what we have given you and please leave.
My husband agreed to take him to a local church for a nights accommodation but while driving there the man changed his mind. He tried to manipulate my husband for money and then to rather take him to the centre of Johannesburg CBD !! My husband said a firm no, do your really expect me to finance your next fix with my hard earned money? Hubby then dropped him at taxi point.
When my hubby got home we spoke of how I can’t always help everyone and letting this man onto our property was a potentially dangerous thing. A desperate person could do desperate things. He spoke of how he gave this man a lecture too. When we compared notes we realised we both had a similar conversation with this man. Hubby didn’t know my conversation as he was putting our children to bed and keeping them away from the situation.
Both my hubby and I had the chance to minister to this man during the process. Who knows if this was the reason he landed up on our patio. Hopefully stern words from a stranger will shake him to his core and he would rather chose to change his circumstance and come back to reality. I don’t think either of us anticipated the outcome of his ‘visit’