Homeless to the High Rise

homeless man

Over the weekend, we went to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. This particular place is located in one of the most run down parts of the city. In that area, there are lots of drugs, gang activity and homeless people. None of those things bother us, plus the food is good, so it’s worth it.

As we were sitting in the restaurant, a homeless man came in. He came to our table first asking for money, in which we had none to give. Who carries cash these days? From there he headed to the next two tables and received nothing from them either. He made his way past the table in the corner and then headed straight for the exit. I found that to be odd, since there were 3 other tables of patrons that he hadn’t asked for money yet.

The man paying at the counter quickly stopped what he was doing and rushed over to stop the homeless man from leaving. Come to find out, he had stolen the tip off of the table in the corner, where the man at the counter had just been sitting. After a short altercation between the customer, the staff and the homeless man, it was decided to let the man go with a warning to never come back.

Luxury High Rise

After leaving the restaurant, we headed downtown to pick something up from a guy who lived there. We pulled up in front of a luxury high rise located in the center of downtown. The high rise consists of condos in the price range of 300k to over 2.5 million dollars. The penthouse on the top floor has a balcony that’s bigger than my house.

I watched as the parking garage door opened to let out BMWs, Mercedes, Lincoln Navigators and many other high priced cars. In the main lobby, the professionally dressed staff were handling the phones and various residents’ inquiries. Everyone who came down the elevator or walked past us, carried themselves with pride and confidence, including the 20’something man we were there to see. Based upon his demeanor, attire and of course his luxury residence, there was no question about his financial status.

high rise

The Contrast

During our short stay at the luxury high rise, I began to think about the homeless man we had just encountered thirty minutes prior. What’s the difference between him and the man who resided in the condo? Why is one homeless and the other wealthy?

Not everyone who is homeless made the choice to be that way. Some are thrown into that situation. When I was a teenager, for a school project, I went to a shelter to interview a homeless woman who lived there. Her name was Twyla. She had two children and had recently become homeless at no fault of her own. The apartment building she had been living in, became infested by roaches and bed bugs. Therefore, all of the residents were forced to leave for the month it was going to take to get the building fumigated and cleared of bugs.

When I see homeless people now, I often think of Twyla. However, unlike her, there are many people who choose that life. I’ve read of people who rather be homeless than go to work everyday. That’s something I cannot comprehend. Working everyday can feel like a chore sometimes, especially if you don’t enjoy your job. But wouldn’t that be better than sleeping in the cold and not knowing when you’re going to have your next meal?

The reasons for being homeless greatly vary between people. No two people’s story is the same and therefore it is not right to judge any of them.

Even so, while thinking about the two men we met over the weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder what the difference between them was. Why were their lifestyles so different from each other? The first answer that came to mind was ‘belief in oneself’. Undoubtedly, the man in the high rise believed in himself. He was confident in his abilities to succeed and followed through in order to reach his goals. He knew that he was capable and was confident of his potential, so he let nothing stand in his way.

Unlike him, it is likely that the homeless man didn’t share this same confidence. Perhaps at one time during his life, he had been successful. Maybe something happened that caused his life to crumble and that’s why he’s in his present situation. Whatever the case may be, I feel that if he believed in himself, he would find a way to get out of the situation and better his life. He wouldn’t have to steal money anymore, nor would he have to sleep on the cold ground.

Regardless of what the media says, there are lots of jobs out there. Even if it means that a person has to ‘lower their standards’ by taking a job that they are over qualified for, so be it. Do whatever you must (legally), in order to put a roof over your head.

Rough times come to everyone. What makes the difference, is how we respond to those rough times. Do we let them drown us or do we continue to swim?

Everyone is capable of doing something. Everyone has a purpose. Belief in oneself is crucial for a person’s well being, for their success and for their future.

So, believe in yourself. You can do anything that you set your mind to do. The only thing that holds us back in life, is ourselves.

“Believe in yourself, and the rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish.”  ~ Brad Henry

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12 Responses to Homeless to the High Rise

  1. snoogiefisk says:

    I am my own worst enemy.

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  2. April says:

    While I feel that one should believe in themselves to succeed in what would make them happy, homelessness may happen due to circumstances such as the lady you were discussing. I have read some articles about homelessness and mental illness.

    Here was an interesting article I came across while reading.
    http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/Why.pdf

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    • mewhoami says:

      I agree and thank you for the link. There are many reasons why a person might be in that situation. I just hope that regardless of their specific reason, that they are working to overcome it. There’s always a way out. Some situations may just require more work and more time.

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      • April says:

        I think when people find themselves in difficult situations, it destroys their confidence. Maybe it places them in a depressed state. Once a person reaches that point, it’s very hard to pull yourself back up without a lot of assistance.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I forgot to touch on mental illness in my comment to you. I addressed that in my comment to “DailyMusings”. I’m just baffled at the possibility that some people may truly have no hope. To me, there is hope for everyone, even if it’s only a little.

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  3. DailyMusings says:

    Unfortunately mental illness can be a contributing factor to homelessness, and sometimes there is little that can be done to help the person change his life, and get work. Alcoholism is also a contributing factor- and again, even with help, very often nothing changes. I worked in NYC for 30 years and passed the same people on the street for that many years. Very sad to see, one man had a dog and I brought them lunch everyday and learned about his situation- he had relocated from the south and fell on hard times, and also suffered from mental illness. He made bracelets and used to sell them – but he never was able to work. Unfortunately, sometimes setting your mind to do something is just not an option.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That’s very sad to me. You would think that there would be a way to help these people. At the very minimum, a place provided for them to stay. Maybe even offer them some type of therapy to at least attempt to help them.

      I guess I just can’t comprehend how there are some people who truly have no hope. In my mind, there’s always hope, even if it’s only a little, for everyone no matter who they are. I suppose my way of thinking may be wrong.

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      • DailyMusings says:

        The homeless people I encountered in NY slept in shelters often. My brother suffers from mental illness due to a TBI- (lives in a group home) and though he is able bodied and could work – and his mental capabilities would allow him to, he,refuses to. In his words “I don’t want the jobs that no one else wants” His mental thought processes are so disordered, he is incapable of being rational about it. It is very sad, and very frustrating for those around him. This has been the case for 20 years. It is an endless cycle of never getting anywhere.

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  4. suzjones says:

    Are you sure we don’t have this mind-meld thing happening?
    I have only just got to this post (days behind in reading blogs) to find that I have scheduled a post for about 45 minutes from now about believing in yourself.
    As to the homeless thing, I have to admit that I am greatly bothered by the plight of the homeless. There are many who are genuine as you say, however there are those who are homeless by choice and I don’t understand that one at all.
    When we were in another city visiting my son last year, we passed many homeless sitting begging. I stopped to give money to one man who I believe was genuinely homeless. When I spoke to my son later he told me that I would have done far better to buy food for the man rather than give him money as there are many on the streets who are just looking for money to feed their drug habit. They actually have homes they return to each day. As he has worked with the homeless in this city in the past, I believe him but I have to wonder at why it occurs.

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    • mewhoami says:

      With all this “channeling” going on, I’ll be interested to see what we come up with tomorrow. That’s the thing. Everyone’s situation is different. Who’s to say who is genuine and who is not? Some are very good at playing the part.

      I agree with your son. We have many ‘homeless’ people here who have made their daily standing on the corner routines into a career. Some have homes, while others use it primarily on drugs and alcohol. Rarely do we give them cash. We do often, however, buy them food. Some have even asked for money for food and then when we offer to buy the food for them instead, they reject our offer. Come to find out, it was all about the money to begin with. Not everyone is that way, but unfortunately the few have made me leery of them all.

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