The Man I Would Not Hire Hands Me Twenty Dollars When I Was Homeless

New Twenty Dollar billMany years ago, when I was working in television syndication, my department was hiring. A friend from another department recommended his friend who had two years sober. I interviewed my co-workers friend, Jack, but I had no intention of hiring him. Jack WAS a drug addict, and even with two years sober he could still use drugs.

To put this into perspective, at the time, I was on drugs. In fact, I was wasted. One of my responsibilities was managing one of the largest video tape vaults in Los Angeles. One day walking down the aisles I found thirteen shelves with cocaine on them. I called my three vault employees into my office to yell at them. But not for using drugs at work; I yelled at them for not cleaning up after themselves and not inviting me. Yet I would not hire Jack who had two years sober!

Jack was a good worker and another department eventually hired him. We somewhat became friends. At least we learned more about each other.

As many of you know I ended up homeless. I remember one night walking the streets and I ran into Jack. Jack reached into his wallet and handed me $20. It was very humbling that a man I would not hire because he was ONCE a drug addict was giving me money and I was homeless. The thought still wrecks me.

This week I was visiting a homeless shelter and Jack recognized me. I visit that shelter often, I have even talked to Jack a few times, but we just didn’t place each other. The last few months I was trying to grow my hair long but had it all chopped off this week. That’s what it took for us to connect. Jack had fallen and was back in a homeless shelter.

We talked for a bit. The full circle of life kind of slammed me. Jack was doing great for 14 years when something happened that caused him to start using again. At least he is on the right road again. He has a job and will be in housing soon.

I really don’t know how to end this post. I knew I had to share this story because it will resonate with someone. Crazy as life is I could not plan circumstances like these. All I know is that every day I am sober, this August 24th will be sixteen years, I am grateful my life has changed for the better.

photo: redjar

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