Tonight was a typical night for me. After work I had to run to Roncalli to pick up Kam, run over to the bowling alley for bowling practice, then hustle him downtown for play practice at the Anthenaeum.
Typical running, going through the drive thru for dinner, dropping him off to bowl with his teammates for about two hours, during the time he was bowling I was running errands – dropping off dry cleaning, talking to a friend on the phone, grabbed a Starbucks, and chatted with another friend before Kam came out of practice; jumped in the car and told me he forgot his pants for the dress rehearsal tonight. Looking at the clock, I knew I had just enough time to run him home, have him change his clothes while I made a couple of peanut butter sandwiches, sliced up an apple, grab a water and head back out onto the snow covered streets. I remember complaining the streets in our neighborhood were basically a block of ice, I looked over and my comments were falling on deaf ears – wireless headphones and iTunes had taken over.
I often don’t turn on the radio when I drive Kam around, mostly because I can hear what he’s listening to already. Windshield time is time for me to think about what’s next. Dinner, homework, work, tv, playing with Riley, and eventually sleep.
I dropped my aspiring actor at his destination a few minutes early (which makes me feel accomplished) and was ready to head back home to get dinner ready for Mr. D.
Downtown is usually quiet on that side of town, as I turned on Alabama I noticed there were lights about a block behind from me, but were heading my way. I pulled over and waiting for them to pass. It was a red, SUV type of vehicle, I noticed it was Indianapolis Fire Department vehicle as they passed. Almost immediately they got in front of me and went to the next block and started to get out of the SUV. Then I saw a guy on a cell phone with a blue coat talking to one of them. Two of the other firefighters were headed toward a bench a few feet away from the corner on the passenger side of my car. I don’t know why but I rolled down my window as I observed the scene.
There was a man (I’m guessing it was a man because they kept calling him bud) lying on a park bench motionless. It appeared to me that he may have been there awhile, the plastic like tarp that was covering him was covered partially in snow. He was motionless. One of the firefighters was calling something in and the other just stood there shaking his head.
That’s when a cop car pulled up to the scene and I got in the next lane and out of the way.
I cried all the way home. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. Someones father, uncle, brother, cousin, or son was laying on a bench downtown, motionless, covered by plastic and snow.
I’ve seen homeless people downtown before, but never in that condition. I’m sure there are people reading this saying “yeah, well if you think that’s bad you should see how it is in Chicago, New York, LA.” I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t care. I think it’s absolutely despicable that a man who had obviously been lying there for hours probably got past by a hundred times by people that didn’t make a call.
If I knew there was something I could do that would make a difference I would. I’ve volunteered at food pantries, gave money when I could but I just feel hopeless.
My heart broke for a man that I never met; but I will never forget him.