Sunday, June 19, 2016

John in Syracuse

I went to my office in Downtown Syracuse last night to work a little before going home for the evening.  I finished one project and went down to the street for a cigarette break before starting another project I needed to complete. 

I was standing outside, smoking and looking at flights I wanted to book when I turned around and noticed a tall homeless guy walking in my direction.  I turned my back to him, hoping he wasn’t going to ask me for anything.  Over the last few months I have felt myself becoming less and less connected to people.  I once would pursue strangers, seek out the opportunity to help someone or be a means for someone else to have a better day, lately I have been focussed only on myself and have given little to no concern for others.

The man walked closer to me and asked if I could spare a smoke.  
“Sure.”  I said.
I walked towards my car and honestly hoped I didn’t turn around to see him holding a knife.  I pulled out four or five cigarettes and gave them to him along with my lighter.  I closed the door when he asked if I had a dollar so he could get something to drink.  I didn’t have any cash but I did have a compartment full of change in my car.  I went back to the car and reached inside for the change, again hoping I didn’t turn around to see him holding a knife.
“It’s not much but it’s all I’ve got on me, if you don’t mind the coins.”  I said as I handed him about $2.
“No this is great.  Are you sure it’s not going to hurt you to give it up?”  He said with what seemed like genuine concern.
“No, not at all.”  I replied.

I walked with him down the block a little bit and we talked. 
“What’s your name?”  I asked.
“My name is John.  What’s yours?”  He asked as he reached out to shake my hand.
“Anthony.” I replied.

“Are you from around here?”  He asked.
“Yea, I live up in Westvale.”  I replied.
“Have you always been from Syracuse?”
“No.  I grew up in Kentucky for a little bit before coming here and then lived in Texas for a couple of years, but I moved back here last year.”
“That’s nice.”  John replied.
“What about you? Where are you from?”
“Oh, I’m from here.  Been to Pennsylvania once or twice and Canada when I was a little kid.”  John said.

I finished my smoke at the corner and told John it was nice to meet him and then headed back towards the office.  After a minute I looked back and ran towards John and called out his name.  
“Hey man, do you need prayer for anything at all?”  I said.
“No brother, I’m alright.”
“Okay.  Well take it easy man.”  I said.

I walked back to the office, now two blocks away, and couldn’t help but think how selfish and conceited I have been lately.  I get upset and frustrated when life doesn’t pan out exactly how I wanted it to.  I struggle with such minor details of life while someone like John is walking down the streets of Syracuse, homeless and asking a stranger for a smoke and a dollar and is concerned enough to ask me if I can spare the change I just gave him.

There’s no obvious spiritual point to this story and maybe this doesn’t mean anything to you, but it was eye-opening to me.  I have been struggling with getting my life back on track, with trying to understand why I have been so down for the last few months and not giving one moment of concern for those in the community and in my life that actually need help.  And then I meet John, a tall white guy with dirty dreadlocks and a once white t-shirt now stained brown, who is concerned enough about me to ask if I can spare the $2 and not be hurt by sacrificing my spare change.


  1. Anthony, don't feel bad about how you've felt. We all go through periods where we feel selfish and self-centered. It's times like these when you met John that it puts us back on track and gives our lives more perspective. It was so kind of you to offer the smokes, coins and conversation. So many people would just turn away! You may have been the only person John talked to all day and you gave him something to think about, as he did the same for you. We are all in this "thing" together and need to take care of each other. Thanks for sharing and keep up your good work!

  2. Nice post, impressive. It’s quite different from other posts. Thanks for sharing. For more information visit herbal incense for sale

  3. Your blog page is beautiful. Your shares are very good. Thank you ..

  4. Such an amazing blog about the Genuine By Anthony and I really appreciate you work which you have done well.
    Genuine By Anthony

  5. Now to wear a short sleeve, orologi replica fight the wrist watch on the season. Rolex, Omega, Panerai, the nations of these mainstream watches, Kopior klockor although are very good watches, but they have been difficult to let us in the crowd to achieve "beyond". As a person who likes Rolex, even I now feel that I seem to be wearing an offshore type (although I also feel expensive). We need to identify higher, more eye-catching, worthy of the watch to achieve in the crowd "beyond".pandora on sale And Audemars Piguet new color offshore diving table can be said to be the best choice, very eye, recognition and watch the value of high. After all, a color of the offshore type, enough "spike" around us most of the watches. But now this time point, the new color offshore diving table to the second half of the large-scale listing, according to public sales. At this moment, omega replique the secondary market of color offshore diving table has become a "fried" target. The most beautiful green has been overvalued, other colors are not cheap. So, if you want to catch the summer in the first to wear a new color offshore diving table, the first in the crowd to achieve "beyond",pandora rings sale then you need a big price. Now this stage is the price of high, but also wear colored seaside diving table the best time,pandora sale this watch is no doubt that this season is the best choice. Do not want to start big price ahead of time to see you players the courage.