This morning I decided to grab a light breakfast prior to my departure for the airport. Going against the southern California grain, I walked — not drove — over to the nearby Jamba Juice (another California fix I fit into my travel menu like In ‘N’ Out and Baja Fresh).

On the way there, I said hello to an apparently homeless guy standing outside the Vons grocery store. He sparked up a conversation and I asked him if he wanted to join me for a Jamba Juice. He agreed and grabbed his rolling luggage cart of stuff.

His name is Aaron and he was more verbose than Tom who I met earlier in the week. He proceeded to tell me his current affairs. He has been out this way for 2 months. He came out from New York. He has family along the east coast but is out here to take care of personal affairs and clean up an identify theft issue. He is working to start up an internet business. He was an out of work bookkeeper looking for a break.

Aaron ordered a strawberry nirvana and I followed with my standard strawberries wild with an immunity boost. He continued on with his current affairs and I began to wonder a few things. Were these all real? Was he trying a scam? Did he truly believe all of this or was he trying to convince himself?

Interruption —— hey, while I am posting this and getting ready to leave, they are having Eli Estrada on Fox News live. I posted about him two days ago! And Fox News is just now picking up the story.
End of interruption ——

Aaron was a nice guy and did speak well (even if it was interspersed with slang “and what not”s). However, I got a different feeling throughout our interaction that reminded me of a cross post from a reader’s blog — Nicole from SAHM Ramblings. She posted yesterday an experience she had the other day where a homeless guy stepped away from his panhandling location so he could answer his cell phone. I got a similar feeling from Aaron who, after a time into our conversation, petitioned me if I “knew anyone” who could provide funds for a ticket to travel back east. I analyzed the request and politely sidestepped the answer, a little disappointed that this had now become like your standard panhandling interaction. He insisted he give me his email address and phone number in case I knew someone who could help him get back to the east coast. Next to his name and email address, he put “youth counselor” for some reason. Another weird piece to this nebulous story. Was he trying to convince me of something…..or himself?

We conversed for about 5 minutes while waiting for our Jamba Juices and then wrapped it up as we walked back to his spot in front of Vons. I thanked him for the conversation and he thanked me for the drink and wished me a safe trip back home. As I walked away and rounded the corner, he chased after me and petitioned me for a contribution so he could get his phone card reloaded. This was the final fact I needed to put him into the “opportunist/schemer” homeless group (as opposed to the “truly needy” homeless group). Both are folks that need assistance so they can get on their feet. But each group needs to be handled differently. Again, I don’t have all the answers, but I sure can be a small part of the solution.

On a different note, go check out Nicole’s website SAHM Ramblings. Her family moved from Iowa to Los Angeles and back to the slower pace of Iowa.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot com

One Comment

  1. A Slower Pace » Blog Archive » Struggle….. says:

    […] folk free lunch. I do not think it really impacted either one of us. I felt like I felt back when I had Jamba Juice with Aaron that there might have been a slight need, but it was more of an “angle” or scam rather than a […]