I almost hit him, almost ran right through him with my SUV. And it wouldn’t have been my only accident in a week.
I was distracted; I was too busy staring at him, trying to see his humanity. I was noticing his glasses and scarf, the gloves that probably didn’t keep his fingers warm enough. I was reading his sign.
Will work for food or money for gas. Merry Christmas.
Except the Merry Christmas was scrunched up, crammed in like an afterthought. You had to work for it; you had to read through his humanity first.
And what a place to challenge affluenza (the condition of affluent lifestyles preventing us from being human). There he stood outside Walgreens, the store with a cure for everything, everything but apathy. I might have seen him shiver.
So I missed him with the SUV, realized that I never would have hit him. It was a near collision, an almost. A maybe. I nearly felt his humanity, nearly allowed my life of privilege to collide with his, but kept driving. We did, after all, have ballet class to rush to and a $500 payment due for the spring semester. I couldn’t afford to stop, to ask his name.
Now I cry in shame.
I look for him each time I drive by Walgreens, hoping I’ll get another chance. I offer a short prayer…
May someone stop. May someone give him what he needs. And thank heavens he’s there to cause all these near collisions. How else would we remember that we’re human?