The following is from a thread on Twitter from this past weekend, as posted by user Kevin Frankish (@KevinFrankish). Kevin shares his exchange with a man who is homeless, an exchange that maybe saves a life. It certainly changes one, including that of anyone who reads this thread and learns from Kevin's compassion.
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Earlier today I was walking down Bay St. near Gerrard. There was a homeless man sitting on the ground leaning against the wall holding an empty Tim’s cup out. He recognized me and said “Hi Kevin”. I stopped. He told me his name was Glenn. Then he said something that shook me.
“Do you think I should kill myself?”
The question and his forthrightness in asking it caught me off guard. I sat down beside him there on the sidewalk. I asked him to explain. He said, “All day people tell me to ‘get lost’, ‘F off’, ‘go to hell’. Feels like they want me to just die.”
He then asked me to be honest with him. “Kevin, am I a bum?”
What could I say. He asked for honesty. “I guess you fit the stereotype of what society sees as a bum. I’m sorry.”
He actually said thank you for that. I felt horrible for saying it.
He continued “So should I kill myself?” He was in need of an honest answer so I couldn’t just say “no” without a reason.
“Glenn I honestly believe that every single human being on this planet has a reason for being here. If you kill yourself then we are denied your purpose.”
Glenn actually started to honestly reflect on what I had just said. He said “I think maybe I’m here to help other people in some way. I just have to figure out how.” I asked him if I could give him some money. He said no. I shook his hand, got up and went on with my day.
I learned Glenn is living with mental heath issues that make him unemployable. He has no family. I hope what I said was the right thing. Watch for Glenn please, or anyone who may be like him.
Glenn has as much right to be here as anyone.
“There, but for the grace of God, go I."
From @DianaD417: "Kevin, when you tell someone that their purpose for being here means something to you, you give them hope. Hope is what keeps us here. Thank you for taking the time to talk with Glenn. I wish more were like you."
Kevin's response: "I appreciate that but I really just wanted people to realize that what they say to people, even scolding the homeless, can have a serious impact on a human life."
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