An entitled man hated that a homeless man lived around his favorite park in town and wanted him gone. But after a chance encounter, he discovered the truth about this stranger, and it changed everything.
Paul Douglas worked at the municipal construction company, which oversaw parks and recreation areas around the city. This job had been his biggest dream, as he loved going to these public areas as a child.
He considered them vital to any town, and after years of hard work, Paul had become one of the most important professionals in his field. Now, he had more leisure time and liked to spend it at the tiny park in front of the company. Unfortunately, he quickly noticed a homeless man loitering around.
A homeless man lived in the park. | Source: Shutterstock
That was the only downside about public areas, in his opinion. This man would go around asking for money from hard-working families and made it seem unsafe. Paul went back to his office with thoughts of the homeless man on his mind.
“Mr. Lawson. Isn’t there anything we can do about prohibiting bums and drug addicts from our public areas?” he asked his boss later that day.
“This town doesn’t have a huge problem in that area, or does it?” Mr. Lawson asked back.
Paul's favorite park | Source: Pexels
“Well… there’s this bum I see all the time across the street, and it’s been getting on my nerves. This is a nice area. We don’t want families to feel unsafe,” Paul added.
“I know who you mean. But I think that man is harmless. Let’s focus on more important matters, and we’re going to dinner tonight, right?” his boss replied and changed the subject.
Paul tried to forget about it and continued working. But several days later, the homeless man approached him and asked for some food. This time, he couldn’t contain his anger at this person’s loitering and laziness.
The homeless man asked him for food. | Source: Pexels
He decided to give him a piece of his mind. “Why would I give you my hard-earned money, huh?” Paul asked. The man stayed silent for a second.
“I’m asking for a bit of kindness. That’s not too much to ask,” the homeless man answered.
“Yes, it is. It’s a nuisance to the people that visit this park. You need to find a job and become a normal member of society like the rest of us,” he told the man and walked away.
Paul told the man that he was a nuisance to the city. | Source: Pexels
Paul didn’t have high hopes that such a bum would find a job himself, but maybe his words would make him go somewhere else. His wishes were dashed the next day when he saw the man at the park once again.
This time, he was sitting on a bench, and someone had clearly given him some food. Paul hated that some people fell for such schemes. That’s why bums never looked for proper jobs because they appealed to other’s kindness.
But he was not going to stay quiet. Paul called the local police and demanded they come to take this person away from the park. Sometime later, the cops arrived and escorted the man outside.
The cops couldn't do anything but escort the man out of the park. | Source: Pexels
But when Paul talked to them, the officers explained that they could only ask him to leave. They couldn’t arrest him because this was a public area, and he had done nothing wrong.
He got angry, but at least the homeless man was gone for the day. Paul enjoyed a cup of coffee sitting at one of the benches and watching all the happy families having fun with their kids. This is what he worked for, and he wanted to keep it that way.
After about an hour, Paul had to leave for a meeting with Mr. Lawson and didn’t notice that he left his briefcase on the bench.
“Where are those papers on the East Side project, Paul?” his boss asked. Paul searched around and realized what had happened.
Paul had left his briefcase at the park earlier. | Source: Pexels
“Oh no. I left them at the bench in the park. I can’t believe I was so careless,” he answered.
“Well, go see if it's still there, or we’ll be in big trouble with local government,” Mr. Lawson said, annoyed at Paul’s mistake.
Paul went down to the lobby, but before he could walk out, he saw the homeless man from the park going inside. “What are you doing here? This is certainly not a public area. Get out before I call security,” Paul exclaimed.
The homeless man did a good deed for Paul. | Source: Pexels
“Are you Mr. Lawson?” the homeless man asked. That’s when Paul noticed that the man was carrying his briefcase.
“Oh, yes. Thank you! I was going to the park just now to look for it,” he said, delighted that his papers were safe.
“No problem,” the homeless man responded and started walking away.
“Wait a second. I’m sorry I’ve been so rude. Let me give you something for your troubles,” Paul said.
He refused Paul's money. | Source: Pexels
“No, I don’t need any money. I only ask people for food,” the man said. But Paul didn’t want to let him go just like that. He asked the man to have some coffee with him. Paul asked him about his life after they sat down at the café next to his building.
“Why don’t you leave the park?” Paul questioned.
“I designed that park. I used to work at your company long ago. But I fell into horrible debt after some serious health issues and could never find a job in my field again. For years, I worked odd gigs, but my health has only gotten worse since then. And now, I can’t work because I lost my house,” the homeless man said.
Paul discovered the man's past and how hard his life was after getting fired. | Source: Pexels
“What’s your name?” Paul wondered, shocked by this man’s story. He thought the man was a drug addict.
“My name is Arthur Cooke. We built this park in 1995, and I was fired in 1999,” Arthur explained.
Paul couldn’t believe it. He went back to his office after finishing coffee and checked the records. Arthur had not been lying. The man was responsible for most of the city’s major projects until his health issues started.
Arthur's parks were enjoyed by everyone, and Paul had to do something. | Source: Pexels
He couldn’t let Arthur live like that again. Paul helped him find government assistance, a tiny apartment, and a desk job back at the company. After that, he was also involved in organizations to help other homeless people. Arthur had changed his life forever.
What can we learn from this story?
1.Never judge others.
Some people hate the homeless or poor, without knowing their story or what could’ve happened to them.
2. Be kinder to people. You don’t know what others have been through. A little kindness won’t hurt you.
Share this story with your friends. It might inspire people to share their own stories or to help someone else.
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