Just watched a manager offer a homeless guy a sandwich.
Made it for him.
Brought it to him.
And then sat down and talked to him for 10 minutes.
“Why are you being so nice to me?”
“I’m nice to everybody.”
I found her display of compassion to be extremely inspiring as well as a little eye opening. She really listened. But she was also pretty direct.
“How long have you been drinking?”
“Well, I had my first drink when I was 7.”
And thus began a rather interesting story.
Anyway — if you ever wonder, yes — there are really good people out there.
And one of them is a manager at Panera Bread in Fremont, California.
More story details:
I didn’t catch all of it, but I caught a lot of it. She was harder for me to hear than he was, but not everything he said was spoken in an easy to follow fashion.
He really started drinking when he was 17. He had a rough year — and, “that one year turned into twenty.”
The manager asked if he’d gone to rehab before, “Yes, but it didn’t stick.” But he said he learned some things and “I got a good shave when I was there.”
“They told me I don’t shake because I drink. I shake because I don’t drink.”
He mentioned being embarrassed. She asked why he was embarrassed.
“I get embarrassed because I shake. I went to the bank with around seven dollars in change to change it into bills and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking. And that’s so embarrasing.”
“I’ve been drinking since 3:30 this morning, but it’s not like I act drunk. I don’t get belligerent. But I need it. I have half a gallon of vodka up my sleeve right now.”
He did. He was wearing a jacket, but held out his arm in from of him and his sleeve had a bottle in it. Not noticable unless you were looking for it.
The manager has two jobs. She told him to stop by at the other job any time for coffee. And it sounded like she was working on ways to help him. It also sounded like she already had.
“Do you remember my name?” He didn’t. “Do you still have the card I gave you?” He didn’t. She made him stay put while she went and got another one.
She came back, gave it to him, and then gave him an awkward hug.
He said, “Thank you.”
Follow-up November 29:
In a follow up to my post, I just spoke with the manager. Her other “job” is volunteering at a place called Compassion Network, which is a local organization.